On Friday night, 60 House Republicans voted to shut down Maine’s government. Here’s the full list.
After refusing to participate in budget negotiations all session, at the literal eleventh hour they voted against a compromise budget and introduced a brand-new budget from Governor LePage. After 34 of 35 senators had voted for the compromise budget, the House of Representatives failed to muster the ⅔ vote necessary because of the ideologically-driven LePage loyalists.
For months, House Republicans dragged budget negotiations far to the right–forcing a full repeal of the surcharge passed by voters in November, amounting to a $320 million tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Mainers, as well as slashing the amount of money voters approved sending to schools by half. On Friday night, it became clear they had been negotiating in bad faith, and that this was their plan all along.
Now House Republicans and the Governor have successfully manufactured a state shutdown, right at the cusp of the Fourth of July. It will cost the state $2.5 million a day; put 12,000 state workers out of a job, with no guarentee of if and when they’ll be paid; back up Medicaid payments to hospitals and providers; and slow critical services to the most vulnerable Mainers.
All this after they already got their massive new tax cuts for the wealthy.
To make matters worse, some Republican House members are going so far as to brag about their actions on social media.
“And to my House Republican colleagues…I am so proud of you tonight. We, alone, have the courage and determination to do right by those who are defenseless, if not for us,” wrote Rep. Paula Sutton on Facebook. “I think EVERYONE now knows we are relevant…and that the Governor matters…and any budget deal will have to satisfy us and Governor Paul LePage. Yeah, I think they get that now.”
It’s simply unconscionable.
The House of Representatives may be voting the budget again as early as today. Please take a minute today and contact these individuals responsible for a state shutdown. And if you can come up to Augusta today, join the growing number of state workers and concerned citizens lining the hallways.