June 13, 2013

LePage says he prefers shutdown over budget plan

BY STEVE MISTLER

(Continued from page 1)

The Appropriations Committee rejected the proposal.

It's unclear if legislative leaders can hold the compromise budget together.

House Republican leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette, of Newport, told the Press Herald last week that his caucus members needed to answer to their constituents. He added that the budget proposal was also likely the best deal either side could expect in divided government.

Alfond and Eves were asked Wednesday if they were confident the deal would survive. Both noted that leaders from both parties signed off on the compromise when it was reached during the early morning hours last Friday.

Eves said the deal was a "gentleman's handshake," adding that it would be unprecedented for a budget passed unanimously in committee not to receive two-thirds support. A failure to achieve that threshold this time would show "a serious lack of leadership," Eves said. "The ultimate decision for every Republican is, are you going to stand with the governor and support his reckless, irresponsible budget? Or are you going to stand with your community and the people of Maine?"

Alfond was hopeful.

"I think he (LePage) has trapped himself," he said. "Our job is to work with our Republican colleagues to get two-third votes in the Senate and House."

The budget could come for a vote today.

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