Senate Democratic statement on failure to reach agreement
AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, a Joint Order that would extend the Legislative session failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote in the House of Representative. The vote was 82-66. It passed the Senate unanimously earlier the same day.
Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson, of Allagash, and Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, who serves as the Senate Democratic lead on the Legislature’s Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs released the following statement:
Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash:
“The reason we are in this situation is because of one person. Earlier this week, the four leaders reached a reasonable agreement on both tax conformity and a spending package only to have it blown up by one individual an hour later.
Good governance depends on working across the aisle and compromising to get things done for the people of Maine. It is discouraging that one individual continues to play cheap political games with issues that actually affect people’s lives. When we came to Augusta, we made promises to Maine people, and Democrats are intent on keeping them.
We just cannot bend to the whims of Rep. Fredette. To put it simply, we have bills to pay and it would be fiscally irresponsible to ignore them. Working Maine families, seniors and small businesses are counting on us take action. We also have a devastating opioid crisis in this state that requires legislative leadership. It is unfortunate that a quarter of the legislature has refused to come to the table. This is a time to put partisanship aside, put Maine people first and get to work.”
Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth:
“It is unfortunate that we could not come together on a tax conformity and spending agreement. For the past four months, Democrats have been negotiating with our Republican colleagues in good faith on critical issues, which include nursing homes, behavioral health care, Medicaid expansion, and tax conformity. Yet time and time again, House Republicans have refused to meet us halfway and participate in open and honest conversations. Every time we think we have a fair deal, the goalposts move. Maine taxpayers deserve better.
After months of hard work, this wasn’t our first choice, but we are prepared to walk out of here and address these issues next January. We will not swallow any poison bills or negotiate any bad deals that don’t honor our priorities and those of Maine people.”