Friday December 16, 2011 | 04:04 PM

Maine Democratic House members split today on a nearly $1 trillion year-end spending bill passed 296-121 by the House.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, cited cuts to a federal home heating assistance program and more money spent on the war in Afghanistan in explaining her vote against the measure, which keeps the federal government operating ahead of a midnight deadline.

But Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, said he regarded the bill as a bipartisan compromise that included money for research into ilnesses suffered by veterans who served in the first Gulf War, and ship building at Bath Iron Works.

Thirty-five Democrats voted against the measure, along with 86 Republicans who cast "no" votes. A number of conservative Republicans thought the measure spent too much.

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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.
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