STIMULUS PACKAGE

VOTE: 60-38; Snowe voted yea. (Feb. 13, 2009)

MAINE IMPACT: The $787 billion stimulus sent $1 billion to Maine for entitlement programs, infrastructure projects and competitive grants for expanding rail, broadband service and wind technology research. According to state officials, more than 1,000 jobs were created from the spending. State officials also claim investments in transportation and clean water projects created an additional 5,000 jobs. Tax cuts included in the stimulus also resulted in most working Mainers receiving a $400 rebate.

SNOWE’S INFLUENCE: She helped shape the size and scope of tax cuts included in the stimulus as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. She also communicated GOP proposals on the package in talks with President Obama.

HEALTH CARE REFORM

VOTE: 56-43; Snowe voted no. (March 25, 2010)

MAINE IMPACT: A goal of reform was to make health insurance more affordable for individuals and small businesses – a key issue in Maine. Health insurance exchanges will be created in 2014, providing a marketplace for individuals and small groups to pool to purchase coverage at cheaper rates. Federal subsidies also will be offered to defray costs of health insurance. In 2014, individuals will be required to buy health insurance or face a fine; businesses with 50 or more employees who choose not to offer coverage to workers also will pay a fine.

SNOWE’S INFLUENCE: Through her committee work, Snowe helped build the portions of reform touching on small business, such as redefining small group markets as up to 100 employees, including seasonal workers for small-business credits, applying small-business tax credits to nonprofits and ensuring small-business tax credits for two years before and after the exchanges.  

She also ensured pediatric services, including dental and vision, were included as part of the exchange benefits; pushed for national plans to be available in the exchanges beginning in 2014; capped premium contributions for people with incomes from 300 percent to 400 percent of poverty levels at no more than 12 percent of income; ensured workers who are offered employer-sponsored insurance with premiums greater than 10 percent of their incomes can seek insurance through the exchange and receive low-income subsidies.

She also worked on delivery reforms, including designing a Medicare system that rewards for value, rather than volume; establishing an annual Medicare primary care benefit to stress prevention and early diagnosis; eliminating out-of-pocket costs for Medicare screening and prevention services and increasing support for primary care training and compensation.

On the insurance purchase mandate, Snowe insisted waivers be granted for anyone for whom the cheapest plan is more than 8 percent of their income. (The original proposal was 10 percent.)

FINANCIAL REGULATION

VOTE: 60-39; Snowe voted yea. (July 15, 2010)

MAINE IMPACT: The bill enacted more stringent regulations and capital requirements on the financial industry, as a result of the credit crisis.

SNOWE’S INFLUENCE: It would not have passed without her support. Snowe drafted several amendments in the final bill. One protected home equity loans with flexible repayment terms used for small business lending from review by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (A Maine example is a lobsterman who uses a home equity loan to pay for boat repairs.) Another Snowe provision exempted small businesses offering credit to customers – such as jewelers and dentists – from the bureau’s review. A significant provision added by Snowe ensures a 60-day review period before any new rules or regulations affecting small businesses can take effect.

‘JOBS’ BILLS

VOTE: 61-39; Snowe voted yea. (Aug. 5, 2010)

MAINE IMPACT: Maine is slated to receive $116 million from the $26 billion spending package – $77 million in additional Medicaid funding and $39 million in local school aid.

SNOWE’S INFLUENCE: It would not have passed without her support. Snowe also insisted the spending be offset with cuts so it won’t add to the federal deficit.

UPCOMING BILLS

COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY BILL

SNOWE’S INFLUENCE: Snowe has supported comprehensive energy legislation, but suggested a smaller version from what the Democrats have proposed. She has expressed support for placing carbon limits on utility plants. The issue has not come up for a vote due to lack of sufficient congressional support.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

MAINE IMPACT: A proposal by Democrats that would require companies and unions that pay for campaign ads to disclose that fact in the ad content has not been brought to a vote based on a lack of sufficient support.

SNOWE’S INFLUENCE: Snowe has said she does not support the current measure. It was drafted in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing for increased corporate campaign spending. She said it targets corporate speech, while unfairly exempting unions. Democrats are optimistic they can win her support when Congress reconvenes in September by making the effective date after the November election.