Friday, March 7, 2014
WASHINGTON - All four members of Maine's congressional delegation voted in support of the Senate-brokered compromise to reopen federal offices and extend the debt ceiling.
Despite weeks of political wrangling and a government shutdown that dragged on for 16 days, the House and Senate passed the bill by fairly lopsided margins Wednesday night. A full explanation of the debate and the bill's impacts on Maine can be found here.
Following are the written statements from by Maine's senators and House members:
Sen. Susan Collins (Republican):
"For nearly two weeks, I have been working hard with a bipartisan group of 14 Senators on a plan to end the government shutdown, prevent our nation from defaulting on its obligations, and charge the Senate and House Budget Committees with developing a longer-term fiscal plan for our nation. The final agreement between Senators Reid and McConnell incorporates elements of our bipartisan plan. It is beyond time to end this impasse, reopen the government, and begin addressing our nation's unsustainable $17 trillion debt. This is not the end; it is merely the beginning of our work. There is much work ahead and tough decisions to be made.
"I am pleased that the bipartisan group that I led helped lay the foundation for the compromise reached today. It is essential that we continue to work together and show the American people that we can govern responsibly."
Sen. Angus King (Independent):
“As a result of the bipartisan agreement passed today, funding for the government will be restored, the threat of an historic and catastrophic default will be averted, and the table is now set to restart serious negotiations between the House and Senate on a long-term budget that will put our nation on a path to fiscal stability.
“I commend Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for recognizing that the costs of inaction would have been both unprecedented and monumentally perilous for our nation and the global economy. Today, they set aside their partisan differences in order to work together in a constructive and civil manner, and I applaud both of them for reaching a compromise.
“Additionally, over the past two weeks a bipartisan group of senators, led by my home-state colleague and friend Senator Susan Collins, had also gathered together to forge a similar solution to end the government shutdown and resolve the debt ceiling debate. I applaud Senator Collins, as well as my other colleagues who were involved, for their work in these negotiations which I strongly believe helped to move the process forward and lay the foundation for the plan that we passed this evening. I am proud to have been a member of that group, and it is my hope that this same type of collaboration will become commonplace in the future.
“While I am encouraged by the bipartisan nature of the final agreement and the hard work that my colleagues have done to help move the final process forward, it is nonetheless extremely troubling that the federal government had to, once again, stare into the dark abyss before taking action. The American people expect more from their government, and after all of this, it should be abundantly clear that Congress cannot continue to imperil the country’s economic future by playing political games with the budget and appropriations bills. The plan passed tonight once again presents us with the opportunity to prove that Congress can govern and that this institution can still function. We need to seize that opportunity not only for the American people, but for our future as well.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-District 1):
"Although I'm pleased that there was a bipartisan deal to get the government open and avoid a default on the debt, we could have voted on this same bill two weeks ago. Instead, hundreds of thousands of workers have been furloughed and many more have gone without pay. Meanwhile seniors and veterans have had to worry about getting the benefits they have earned. All of this because an extreme faction of the Republican party held the economy and the country hostage over their obsession with undermining affordable health care.
"Now that we passed a bill to reopen the government and avoid a debt default, it's time for Congress to focus on what's really important to Americans—jobs and the economy, and avoid any more of these manufactured crises."
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-District 2):
“Finally, Acadia will be reopened, veterans’ benefits will no longer be threatened, and the fear of not getting a paycheck will be lifted for Maine’s furloughed workers. While this bill is a disappointment because it is short-term, it will hopefully provide the time needed to arrive at a more comprehensive, long-term solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges.”Tweet
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 email@example.com
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