Collins proposes way forward to fund the government

Lawmakers are still at an impasse on how to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, which has been shutdown since midnight Tuesday. 

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“Let me present to my colleagues and to the president for their consideration a proposal to bring an end to the shutdown. … I have searched for bipartisan ground,” Collins said during a rare weekend session of the Senate. “We might well have the combination necessary to secure the votes and reopen government. Surely it is worth a try.”

House Republicans have tried to use the funding measure to defund and repeal parts of ObamaCare, but Senate Democrats have said the House needs to pass a “clean” CR without any riders.

Collins pointed out that repealing a tax on the sale of all medical devices taxes has broad bipartisan support. She said she would replace the $30 billion in tax revenue to fund ObamaCare through “pension smoothing” — which allows pension funds to be used with the assumption that during years of high returns the money would be replaced eventually.

Collins also suggested that a funding measure include an idea of hers to allow federal agencies to make targeted cuts rather than having the across-the-board sequester cuts.

“It is time that both sides come out from their partisan corners and stop fighting and start legislating,” Collins said.

It's unclear where the fight will go from here, with both sides digging in for the first government shutdown since 1996.