Half of Maine’s congressional delegation expressed general support for a compromise framework of President Biden’s signature social and climate investment package released by the White House Thursday.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, expressed tentative support for the package, which scales back the proposal from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, dropping provisions for free community college, having Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices with drug companies and the most ambitious parts of the climate plan. Each member’s position matters because Democrats can afford to lose only three votes if the bill – called Build Back Better – is to pass.

But 2nd District Rep. Jared Golden, one of a group of House Democrats who opposed the original measure, demurred, awaiting a final deal that has the clear support of Democratic Senate holdouts Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, whose objections prompted Biden to offer the sharply scaled back plan.

“I look forward to reviewing the specific details of any deal when there is legislation that actually represents the final deal,” Golden said Thursday evening in an emailed response to questions. He also called for the immediate House passage of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that has already passed the Senate but whose future has been yoked to the larger Build Back Better bill.

The framework plan unveiled Thursday morning still represents one of the largest social investments in generations, featuring free, universal pre-K, $555 billion to fight climate change, childcare subsidies and funding for one million affordable housing units. It would be fully paid for via a minimum tax on profitable corporations, new taxes on incomes above $10 million, and increased enforcement against wealthy tax dodgers.

“While this bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill don’t address every priority, together they present a historic opportunity to propel us towards a stronger economy, provide a solid foundation for our families, and take the urgent steps needed to fight climate change,” Pingree – who supported the original package – said in a written statement. “They both must pass to complete the Biden agenda. This is a once-in-a-generation moment.”


The framework hasn’t yet been published as a fully detailed legislative document and remains the subject of negotiations. If it passes, it must be supported by all 50 members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate to pass via the reconciliation process, which avoids an expected Republican filibuster. Biden dramatically scaled back his proposals in an effort to win the support of Manchin and Sinema.

Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said this is “a historic opportunity to invest in our nation’s children, empower older Americans to affordably age at home, address the threats of climate change, and much more.”

“As I continue to review the details of the legislative package, I will work alongside my colleagues on potential areas to improve the bill and create a product that will help working Americans throughout Maine and across the country,” King added.

Sen. Susan Collins, the sole Republican in Maine’s delegation, is expected to join her caucus in opposing the bill. On Sept. 27 she delivered a speech entitled “The Dignity of Work” in which she said Build Back Better “would have profound implications for people’s lives and for the values that are among the pillars of our society, for they would break the connection between work and a brighter future.”

“We will not build a more prosperous, just and equitable society characterized by opportunity, dignity and meaning just by issuing government checks,” she said. “The time-tested way to achieve those goals for American families is by supporting and rewarding work.”

In response to a request for her reaction, Collins’ spokesperson Annie Clark on Thursday evening provided a one sentence emailed response: “The negotiations between the Democratic House, the Democratic Senate, and the Biden administration still have a ways to go, and it’s not yet clear what this Democrat-only effort will produce.”

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