(CNN) – "The list of harm goes on and on. It is time for this shutdown to end," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaking on the Senate floor Saturday.
Collins called for compromise from Republicans, Democrats and President Barack Obama as she put forth a proposal she said would end the government shutdown.
As the shutdown effect’s spread, members of Congress have expounded on leadership and compromise as they search for a solution. But it seems that little progress has been made as the shutdown drags on late into its fifth day.
Collins had some advice for members of the House.
“From the start of this debate, I have urged our House colleagues not to adopt a policy that linked Obamacare with the funding of government.”
However, her newest proposal seems to take a different track - the central tenet of the proposal calls for a repeal of the medical device tax imposed by Obamacare. The 2.3% excise tax she refers to helps to fund Obamacare and went into effect at the beginning of 2013. The tax will raise about $30 billion in revenues over 10 years.
In order to offset this loss in revenue, Collins proposed “smoothing out” the size of payments into pension plans. She explained that this strategy would allow private businesses to lower their pension contributions in the near future, in exchange for higher payments down the line. Collins says this would result in lower deductions for companies and more tax revenue for the government.
The medical device tax is largely considered unpopular, including among some Democrats whose states harbor medical device employers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, for example, penned an op-ed for a trade magazine advocating for a repeal last year while she was running for the Senate.
House Republicans attached a repeal of the tax, along with a one-year delay of Obamacare, to one of the short-term spending bills, also known as a continuing resolution, it sent to the Senate early in the week. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would not negotiate over Obamacare as long as it's attached to the spending bill.
On CNN's "New Day" Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said he's ready to put a medical device tax repeal "on the table," but only on one condition. House Republicans must first pass a short-term spending bill without any anti-Obamacare provisions. Then, he said, the Senate will be prepared to separately reconcile with House Republicans on Obamacare - but only if the government is open and functioning.
"Of course the conversation should continue, but let's not do it with our government shutdown," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan.
Reid made similar comments on the Senate floor right before the shutdown went into effect, rejecting the House's proposal to go to conference and work out a compromise.
"We will not go to conference with a gun to our head," Reid said.