Democrats and Maine People’s Alliance Kill Welfare Reform in Dark of Night

June 23, 2015

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

Old-guard liberals fight to continue failed policies of Maine’s past AUGUSTA – Majority Democratic lawmakers in the Maine House of Representatives Monday killed the bulk of welfare reform bills remaining before the legislature in late-night votes taken after most media outlets had left the building.

“Liberal welfare policies have failed Maine throughout decades of one-party rule in the state legislature, and today’s Democrats, who are controlled by the welfare-activist group Maine People’s Alliance, have shown that they are not interested in change of any kind,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Democratic politicians are not content with the status quo; they actually want Maine to go backward and revert to the broken welfare policies of the past. They have ignored the wishes of hard-working Mainers who see welfare fraud and abuse every day firsthand and are crying out for reform.”

Several Democratic lawmakers joined their Republican colleagues in supporting reform, though not enough for reform legislation to pass in the House.

Among the bills killed by Democratic lawmakers and their puppet masters at Maine People’s Alliance were:

• LD 1375: Governor’s bill to require an up-front work search for able-bodied TANF applicants; eliminate loopholes in the work requirement; ban out-of-state use of Maine TANF benefits; and prohibit the expenditure of cash welfare on alcohol, tobacco, gambling, bail, and tattoos. This bill received a strongly bipartisan, 29-5 vote in the Senate. (Killed 76-68 in the House)

• LD 607: Democratic report would make it more difficult for the state to put photo IDs on EBT cards. Bill as introduced would have facilitated the effort and also received a strongly bipartisan, 27-7 vote in the Senate. (Dem Report passed 72-70 in House)

• LD 1407: Governor’s bill would have given DHHS the authority to drug-test TANF applicants, dependent on the results of a written screening to determine current drug abuse. (Killed 76-67)

• LD 1035: Would have imposed a 9-month cap on General Assistance welfare. (Killed 74-71)

• LD 1036: Would have required the use of other benefits before GA. (Killed 73-72)

• LD 1037: Would have established a 180-day residency requirement for welfare benefits. (Killed 78-67)

• LD 368: Would have imposed a 5-year limit on GA to align with TANF. (Killed 80-65)

“These bills would have helped to move Mainers from welfare to work while ensuring that scarce resources are being used appropriately,” said Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew. “We must align our benefits with the goal of helping people and families move from poverty to prosperity.”