Rep. Jared Golden speaks during a press conference in Bangor in this Oct. 23, 2018, file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre

Within hours of being sworn in, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District is facing votes on emergency legislation aimed at ending the partial shutdown of the federal government.

About a quarter of the federal government is affected by the stalemate between Congress and President Donald Trump over funding for a southern border wall. Trump is demanding a full a $5 billion, but Congress is holding firm at $1.3 billion that it has already approved for border security.

“This is a manufactured crisis. It’s unnecessary, and that’s the unfortunate part,” Golden said.

Golden said given all of the major issues facing the nation, he is disappointed that the border security dispute has eclipsed other key negotiations. But he said he’s keeping an open mind on the issue.

“I don’t know if there is going to have to be more funding for the wall or not. I’m not saying I am opposed to it. It sounds like there has been some willingness on the side of the Democrats to talk about it,” he said.

Golden said he hasn’t decided how he will vote on a proposal that would fund six federal agencies for the rest of the budget year and continue current funding levels for another month for the Department of Homeland Security. Nor does the freshman congressman have much in the way of specific legislation that he intends to sponsor, saying that depends on his committee assignments, which have not been made by leadership.

Golden said he will work on some type of measure dealing with the cleanup of lead contamination in homes throughout Maine and other states.

“The thing is, we know that the lead is there. So, the best way to do something about it is get the lead out of the home,” he said.

Golden acknowledged federal efforts to implement remediation programs, but he said it does not go far enough.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.