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Tom McMillen Phones a Friend

Former Maryland Congressman Tom McMillen (D) reached out to an old friend in the federal government recently, with an idea on how to end the partial shutdown.

That friend? The president of the United States.

McMillen, a former four-term lawmaker and professional athlete, told Maryland Matters this week that he met Donald Trump long ago.

“I’ve known him about 40 years. He actually gave me one of my first thousand dollars when I ran for Congress in ‘86. I knew him when I was in the NBA. It’s a small world.”

Because of the shutdown, which will soon be the longest in U.S. history, 800,000 federal workers are either on furlough or working without pay. Tens of thousands of contractors have also been idled.

What was McMillen’s idea for breaking the impasse?

“I sent [Trump] a note [suggesting] that they set up a bipartisan presidential commission on immigration. [President] Truman did it in ’52, and it resulted in comprehensive immigration legislation.”

McMillen is no stranger to White House panels. In 2011, he was appointed to the President’s Foundation on Sports, Physical Fitness, and Nutrition. He also served on the Knight Foundation’s Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which looked at abuses within college sports.

McMillen called the shutdown “tragic” because of the impact it’s having on workers and their families.

In addition, he predicted government services will soon begin to deteriorate.

“You worry about TSA agents, all the critical functions of government, we’re going to begin to see degradation.”

“The issue is going to get down to who blinks first,” the former congressman predicted. “Obviously I think the president is going to have to give in here.”

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