Saturday, April 19, 2014
Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine didn’t go along with recommendations offered by fellow Republicans members of the Senate Finance Committee to the so-called super committee charged with slashing the deficit and coming up with at least $1.2 trillion in savings.
Politico first reported that Snowe, a senior member of the finance committee, didn’t sign on to the recommendations that the GOP finance committee members, like members from both sides of the aisle from various committees made to the bipartisan super committee, with the Washington publication characterizing it as an indication that the moderate Snowe is “not making major moves to the right” in the face of tea party movement primary challenges from Scott D’Amboise of Lisbon Falls and Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell.
The reasons Snowe cited, a concern about the recommendations to cut Medicare and turn Medicaid into a block grant program, are nothing new; Snowe cited similar concerns as main reasons for voting against the House GOP budget earlier this year. The finance commitee recommendations also included a call to repeal the health care reform law, something Snowe has backed.
Snowe, the top Republican on the Small Business Committee, did sign on to the recommendations made to the super committee by that committee’s Republican members. Those recommendations included calls for tax reform and reducing federal regulations, and for scaling back – but not repealing – the health care law.
Snowe has been critical of the idea of the super committee, whose recommendations, if it agrees on a set, will have to be voted on up or down by Congress. Snowe has said repeatedly that Congress should be able to work on these types of issues as a fully body, and has criticized the Senate for failing to spend enough time debating economic and job creation issues this year.
(Updated as of 7 p.m: Snowe said in a statement that, "I am not a fan of the Super Committee process. In my opinion, creating that vehicle puts the responsibility of 535 members of Congress on just 12 lawmakers. I am also disappointed there were no full committee hearings or any attempt to create bipartisan transmittal recommendations. At the same time, the process has been established and I feel committees were given a responsibility, in the law, to put forward recommendations, which is why I submitted a letter as ranking member of the Senate Small Business Committee.”
But Snowe added that she commends the work by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and other finance committee Republicans: " I spent a great deal of time reviewing the proposals and agree with many of them, including wholesale tax reform, which is an idea I have championed for years. In the area of health care, I agree we should repeal the health care law, as I voted to do earlier in the year; we should absolutely undertake tort reform; and we must examine regional variation in health care spending. Additionally, I thought we could have added areas for savings including pharmaceutical rebates, which could save upwards of $130 billion over ten years,” Snowe said.)
Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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