For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Democrats on Maine's Legislative Council late Thursday morning killed all three of House Republican Leader Ken Fredette's welfare reform proposals.
One bill would have required able-bodied welfare applicants to look for a job before receiving a welfare check. Another would have eliminated catch-all "good cause" excuses to nonparticipation in the ASPIRE work search program. A third bill would have established a feasibility study for creating a tiered welfare system whereby recipients don't lose all their benefits at once if they receive a promotion or a raise.
The first proposal was killed by a 6-4 party-line vote. The second and third bills failed 5-5, also along party lines.
"This is a sad day for the State of Maine," said Rep. Fredette. "Democrats are reverting to their old ways now that they're back in the majority, stifling reform efforts and defending the status quo at all costs. Maine's budget needs welfare reform and Maine's people are crying out for accountability. Taxpayers want to help the truly needy, but they're feeling taken advantage of because welfare eligibility has gotten out of control after decades of liberals running state government."
Rep. Fredette said the bills can be reintroduced by Governor LePage, who has overseen the most significant welfare reforms in Maine's history.
"Democrats can't hide from this important debate about the sustainability of Maine's welfare system," added Fredette. "The taxpayers and the truly needy, who are seeing the safety net stretched too thin, are too important to be subjected to the disastrous effects of the failed liberal welfare state of the past."
Maine House Republicans
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