Sen. Susan Collins

US Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was Tuesday's guest. Here are excerpts from her remarks:

On her advice when the White House called about the president's second Supreme Court nominee:

"I described the qualities that I thought a Supreme Court justice ought to have. I talked more about the kind of person that I didn't think should be nominated as opposed to giving specific names."

On the president's call to cut travel to save fuel:

"My constituents, by and large, have to travel considerable distances to get to jobs, to schools. So I don't think it is all that easy in a rural state to say, 'Cut down on your trips; take mass transit.' There isn't any in most parts of Maine."

On the role of the federal government in rebuilding after hurricane Katrina:

"The focus has been on the federal government somehow bearing all of these costs.... Americans want to reach out [and] help rebuild the Gulf states. But they want a sense of shared sacrifice in doing so.... There needs to be a great deal of scrutiny of all of the appropriations requests."

On FEMA's decision to reimburse churches for providing food and shelter to hurricane evacuees:

"We'd have to look at the specific details. If a religious-based organization is providing food and shelter, I don't really see a problem with reimbursing some of those costs. If, however, that religious organization is holding classes and proselytizing in the shelter while the evacuees are living there, then that raises all sorts of concerns."

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