LePage reflects on shutdown, predicts another, in weekly address

In his weekly address, released today, Gov. Paul LePage looked back at the shutdown, and said it isn’t a question of whether leaders in D.C. will fail again, but when.

An excerpt:

“Sadly, the politicians in Washington, D.C. accomplished absolutely nothing during the 16-day shutdown. They have set the stage for another shutdown, but we will be ready for it.

With another shutdown looming, we will not waste time listening to political rhetoric. We are taking steps to ensure our employees are protected, and we will be prepared to minimize the impact on state programs and services. Actions, not words, will see us through the next shutdown.”

LePage is no doubt referencing the window for funding the government, established when Congress ended the 16-day shutdown last week, which is set to expire early in 2014 if Congress fails — again — to put together a budget package that has support from both parties and the president.

The governor also reiterated his distrust of the federal government’s ability to pay its bills, which he has said is one of the reasons he opposes expanding Medicaid in Maine, an expansion proposed as part of President Barack Obama’s health care law and supported by Maine Democrats.

The proposal would see the federal government pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion for three years, before winnowing down over time to 90 percent. The expansion would cover able-bodied parents and adults without children who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $20,628 of income per year for a two-person household.

“Finally, I will say it again: With a national debt of 17 trillion dollars and permanent gridlock in Washington, D.C., we cannot depend on federal money to pay for Maine government. We must learn to live within our means.

As unfortunate as the shutdown was, we learned a lot from it. Government is not too big to fail its people. The next time the politicians fail us, we will be ready.”

To listen to the complete address, click here, or read the text here.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House.