For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today reacted with surprise to the emergency meeting of the legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Committees called by Democratic leadership.
"We had no idea this was happening," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "It's customary for majority leadership to discuss legislative hearings with minority leadership, but we've seen repeated lapses in communication with the Speaker's Office."
"Speaker Eves and his office never contacted me or my staff about this emergency meeting which they planned a week ago," continued Fredette. "I only learned about it today while the meeting was taking place and I was driving down the highway. Speaker Eves has my e-mail address and my cell phone number. His actions as Speaker in not notifying Republican leadership are irresponsible during this time of great uncertainty at the federal level and call into question Democratic leadership's response to the federal government shutdown. This should be a time of collaboration and communication, not politics as usual."
Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton likewise was unaware of Wednesday's emergency meeting.
"This lack of communication from the Democrats tells me two things," said Fredette. "First, it's ironic how Democrats have been attacking Gov. LePage over a supposed lack of communication, yet they turn around and do the same thing with their own colleagues in the legislature. Second, if this were a substantive meeting about solving problems, perhaps we would have known. But it's clear that Democrats simply wanted to drag Commissioner Mayhew before the committees for a photo-op where they could attack the Administration.
"This isn't productive," said Willette. "It's exactly the type of political showmanship and hypocrisy that we're seeing in Washington, D.C. right now."
Fredette added that he is confident in Commissioner Mayhew's ability to appeal the federal government's recent decision to cut off $20 million in funding to Riverview Psychiatric Hospital.
"I'm encouraged by the fact that Attorney General Mills and Commissioner Mayhew are working closely together in a bipartisan manner to solve this problem and fight for funding for this institution which is vital to the health and well-being of our state," he said.
Maine House Republicans
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