For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - In the wake of findings that Maine EBT cards have been used in all 50 states as well as a resort in Puerto Rico, State Rep. Mike Nadeau of Fort Kent has sponsored a bill to prohibit the use of Maine EBT cards out of state. Maine welfare benefits have been cashed as far away as Disney World and Hawaii.
"If you can take a vacation to Disney World, you don't need welfare benefits," said Rep. Nadeau. "Our welfare system has gotten out of control and it's time we reform it to focus on the folks who really need it."
The bill, LD 1820, is entitled "An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers" and was introduced by Governor Paul LePage with Rep. Nadeau as the sponsor. The welfare reform measure was heard by the Maine Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The bill now heads to the full legislature for votes in the House and Senate, where majority Democratic leaders have vowed to oppose it.
"We all want to help the folks that really need it, but most of the people in the County I speak withDemocrat, Republican, or Independentbelieve there is too much fraud and abuse," said Rep. Nadeau. "It's the liberal, southern Maine politicians who are out of touch and don't see the need for any change in our welfare system."
Nadeau added that he will be working hard to gain support for his proposal, but he asked that supporters of his welfare reform bill call the House Speaker and Senate President and urge them to support it.
Rep. Nadeau's bill is one of four welfare reform proposals being advanced by Governor LePage and Republican lawmakers. The others would require job-ready welfare applicants to apply for three jobs before receiving benefits, prohibit the use of welfare benefits on items such as cigarettes and alcohol, and eliminate exceptions to the requirement that welfare recipients look for jobs while receiving benefits.
Maine House Republicans
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