Collins predicts lawmakers will agree to barriers, 'but not to the degree' Trump wants

Collins predicts lawmakers will agree to barriers, 'but not to the degree' Trump wants
© Getty Images

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Toward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates Trump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment MORE (R-Maine) said Sunday that she believes Congress can reach an agreement on "physical barriers" for the border, but "not to the degree the president has requested."

"I think what will happen is that the efforts to continue to build physical barriers, which have gone on in the last two administrations, will continue, but not to the degree the president has requested," Collins said on "Face the Nation" on CBS.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE has maintained that the U.S. needs to build a wall along the southern border, while Democrats have refused to back funding for such a barrier.

Collins suggested that lawmakers should speak with "nonpartisan experts," like individuals with Customs and Border Protection, to determine what is most needed.

ADVERTISEMENT

The president last Friday signed a bill to fund the government for three weeks. The measure did not include money for a wall along the southern border, but provided the opportunity for a bipartisan conference of lawmakers to negotiate border security funding.

The decision marked a sharp reversal for Trump, who triggered a partial government shutdown over his demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding, and insisted for the previous 35 days that he would not cave on the issue in the face of Democratic opposition.

Collins said the best case result for the coming weeks of funding discussions would be legislation that addresses border security and that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year. 

"We cannot have the threat of a government shutdown hanging over our people," she said. 

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request Scaramucci thanks John Kelly for speaking up against Trump Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' MORE said on "Face the Nation" that Trump is willing to shut down the government again next month if he doesn't get a deal to his liking. The president has also suggested he may declare a national emergency to direct construction of the wall, though such a move would likely spur legal challenges.