Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Those who followed the last legislative session know that Maine lawmakers were able to avoid a shutdown of state government by negotiating a compromise on the state's two-year budget.
There were some Republicans who didn't agree with the budget, including Gov. Paul LePage. However, many joined the Democratic majority to override the governor's veto. Rep. Kathleen Chase, R-Wells, believed that a shutdown would lead to "chaos."
It's not quite chaos in Washington D.C., but there's plenty of angst over the partial shutdown of the federal government. On Tuesday Democratic legislative leaders released a statement lauding the Legislature's ability to reach a compromise despite their differences.
Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, blamed the federal shutdown on Republicans in the House of Representatives.
"I’m proud that in the Maine Legislature, we don’t behave that way," Alfond said. "We show up and do our job — even when we disagree.”
Alfond also joined U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, in blaming tea party Republicans for the situation
"The fact that one small group from one political party is blackmailing the rest of the country is shameful," Alfond said. “Because of their actions, here in Maine, some folks will be prevented from moving forward with their home loans, thousands will lose their paycheck, and scores of businesses will be put on hold until this mess is cleaned up."
Alfond's comments are biting, but seem more measured when juxtaposed with King, who has been slamming tea party Republicans left and right lately. Here's what he told MSNBC about the shutdown last weekend.
State House minority leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, added this:
“While a government shutdown is unfortunate, the recurring problem is Democrats at the federal and state level refusing to negotiate on the unpopular ObamaCare law. I hope Maine Democrats don’t take a page from the DC playbook and continue to prove so stubborn in future negotiations about Medicaid expansion.”
LePage also jumped in, saying a short-term shutdown won't disrupt state government, but a long-term closure by the feds could impact state agencies that closely interact with the feds.
"The shutdown of the federal government is a result of the failure of leadership in Washington, D.C," LePage said in a statement.
Meanwhile, here's the reaction from the man upstairs.
America is now closed. We apologize for the inconvenience.— God (@TheTweetOfGod) October 1, 2013
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.