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Friday October 19, 2018
Posted: Mar 26, 2015

Poliquin ‘excited’ after voting for House GOP budget

Up Country

After a week of “review,” U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin voted for the budget proposal backed by Republican leaders that passed the House of Representatives Wednesday night.

For a while, the Republican from Maine’s 2nd District was cagey on the proposal, with his office saying last week that he was reviewing it even after he appeared at a press conference with leaders unveiling the bill to call for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The budget won’t become law, as the Senate is crafting its own proposal and President Barack Obama has veto power, but it’s a manifesto that House Republicans say would cut $5.5 trillion in spending and balance within a decade.

It uses some fuzzy accounting to get there, calling for some spending cuts that aren’t well-outlined, including $1 trillion from benefit programs. Still, Poliquin was enthusiastic about it after the vote.

“Anytime I have an opportunity to vote for a budget that balances, I’m very excited about it,” he said in an interview.

But Democrats jumped on Poliquin, who is expected to have a re-election battle against Democrat Emily Cain in 2016, after the vote. The budget would make Medicare less universal by offering seniors plans to pick and cut Pell Grants for college students.

In a statement, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman said Poliquin “turned his back on the hardworking men and women of Maine.”

The budget was an interesting test for Poliquin, particularly with his February vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. He opposes the law, but he said he wanted Republicans to draft an alternative before axing it.

However, the budget cuts the health care law without an explicit alternative, making only a vague promise for “a patient-centered approach” to health care. Poliquin wasn’t bothered by that, saying that it “keeps the momentum going” for a change.

“Is it completely ready yet? No, it is not, but there are a lot of pieces that are falling in place behind it,” he said, “so I’m really pleased about that, too.”

The budget isn’t passing, but it’s a tangible document that Republicans will campaign on and Democrats will use to attack Poliquin during the campaign. So, you’re sure to see more from it soon.

 

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