LEWISTON — It is time for congressional leaders and President Donald Trump “to stop hiding and show a little leadership” to end the longest federal government shutdown in the nation’s history, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden said Monday.

Golden, D-Maine, said instead of three-way talks among Trump and two Democrats — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — the top congressional Republicans ought to be in the room negotiating as well.

Golden, who represents the 2nd Congressional District, said when he returns to the Capitol late Monday, he plans to tell colleagues that a bipartisan solution has to be worked out soon.

He said when a similar showdown in Augusta threatened to keep state government offices closed for a prolonged period, legislative leaders from both parties managed to work out a deal with GOP Gov. Paul LePage that gave the governor some of what he wanted while also providing more funding for education and Head Start, which were Democratic priorities.

Golden, a 36-year-old Marine veteran who defeated Republican Bruce Poliquin  in November, said he is “very frustrated with all the leadership right now” because none of them appear to be ready to give any ground to work out a solution.

One key to reopening the federal agencies and programs, Golden said, is to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the high-level talks that are required to break the logjam.

“Why don’t we have all four Democratic and Republican leaders at the table with the president?” Golden asked.

He said national leaders could use some “Mainer-type common sense” to hash out a deal and put the government back to work.

Golden said he is hearing from a variety of Mainers who are having trouble connecting with federal officials on a range of issues that complicate their lives, such as locking in a mortgage so they can close on a new house.

“There’s just no one on the other end of the line,” he said.

He said it would be easier if Trump were to reopen the government and then negotiate with Congress on border security issues.

The House has already shown it is willing to put more than $1 billion into border security upgrades and is ready to listen to requests for more, Golden said. He is opposed to the notion floated by Trump of declaring a national emergency to move ahead with a proposed border wall, the House member said.

“Plenty of Republicans are concerned” about the prospect of the president taking such a drastic step, he said.

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U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Lewiston Democrat, speaks Saturday to a crowd of supporters attending an open house at his Lisbon Street office, where he vowed to keep the doors open to the public without people having to make appointments. (Sun Journal photo by Steve Collins)


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