Happy Monday from Augusta, where the budget bill approved by a majority of the Appropriations Committee is expected to be drafted and ready for floor votes as early as today.
But, as you know, the two-year spending plan — worth more than $6.6 billion — doesn’t have the support needed to pass in the Legislature. Negotiations on a fix faltered last week, but top party officials from the House and Senate worked furiously over the weekend to craft an amendment that can win the two-thirds of lawmakers necessary to avoid a government shutdown.
Wednesday is the last scheduled day of legislative activity for the year, but it’s more than likely the session will be extended to make time to finish the budget.
While the current budget doesn’t expire until the end of the month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said a plan must be approved and sent to Gov. Paul LePage no later than this Thursday. That’s because many expect LePage to wait the full 10 days (excluding Sunday) allotted by law before his near-certain veto.
Keep checking bangordailynews.com for updates as we sprint toward — and perhaps past — the budget deadline. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the Daily Brief to ensure you never miss a #mepolitics beat. — Mario Moretto, BDN.
Jeb Bush to entertain big donors at family compound in Kennebunkport
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican president nomination today in Miami, but the campaign will soon be in Maine, albeit not for a public appearance.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Bush will soon entertain big donors here in the Pine Tree State.
WSJ reporter Rebecca Ballhaus says Bush will hold a fundraiser on June 19 in Washington, D.C. She writes that co-chairs of the event must raise $27,000 for Bush’s campaign, for which they’ll receive “a photo, entry to a host reception and luncheon and an invitation to a retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, in early July.”
While Ballhaus doesn’t say as much, a reasonable person might suspect the “retreat” will take place at the Bush family compound on Walker Point, where Jeb Bush is currently building a new home. The estate has been in the Bush family for generations. — Mario Moretto.
As my colleague Chris Cousins wrote on Friday, LePage’s veto train chugged through 12 more bills on Friday, including 9 Democratic bills nixed by the governor simply because of their sponsors’ party affiliation.
LePage has promised to veto all Democrats’ bills because of the party’s opposition to his blunt efforts to eliminate the income tax. However, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem particularly willing to overturn these blatantly political vetoes. The House and Senate turned back nine of 10 anti-Democrat vetoes last week, with many of the votes near unanimous.
The governor has never been hesitant with the veto pen, but his latest theatrics have some lawmakers crowing more loudly than in the past, blasting LePage and celebrating that he’s fast on his way to becoming the most overridden governor in Maine history.
“Most would agree that [LePage’s] rationale for vetoing all Democratic bills is an abuse of this authority,” said Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, in a radio address last week. “Each time the House and Senate vote to override the governor’s vetoes, we are refusing to let political games get in the way of good governance.”
The 12 new vetoes will be shepherded through the House and Senate for override votes this week. — Mario Moretto, BDN.
- What happens if Maine state government shuts down? — Mario Moretto, BDN.
- 12 new vetoes by LePage include 10 bills sponsored by Democrats — Christopher Cousins, BDN.
- Native Americans’ report reveals history of ‘cultural genocide’ in Maine — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN.
- LePage renews call to wipe out Maine’s estate tax — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal.
- The yeas and nays: How Maine’s congressional delegation voted last week — Targeted News Service.
- The voice of opposition past, Justice Kennedy may save Obamacare now — Joan Biskupic, Reuters.
- Documents show bitter CIA dispute about pre-9/11 performance — Warren Strobel, Reuters.
- Forget voters: Presidential rivals battle to woo billionaires — Lisa Mascaro and Noah Bierman, Tribune Washington Bureau.
- Pingree, Poliquin block Obama’s desired fast-track on trade deal — Mario Moretto, BDN.
- Iowa Republicans kill their high-profile presidential straw poll — Kay Henderson, Reuters.
- Los Angeles mayor signs $6 minimum wage hike into law — Katherine Davis-Young, Reuters.
Just for fun: Maine of Thrones
“Game of Thrones” viewers are probably still cursing the names Benioff and Weiss after last night’s season 5 finale, but there have been a few Maine/Game of Thrones overlaps lately that I wanted to point out.
Fans of the show probably saw more Night’s King memes in the past two weeks than there are blades of grass in the Dothraki Sea, but this one — produced by a Maine journalist who shall remain nameless — earns special mention for conjuring the terrifying image of white walkers stalking the State House:
Then there’s a survey, made by the BDN’s Dan MacLeod, in which he asks Mainers to imagine their state as Westeros. Which Maine coastal town is Lannisport? Which city is Highgarden?
For what it’s worth, I say Portland is obviously Dorne. Orono is Old Town (which sounds weird, I know), Augusta is King’s Landing, Bangor is Moat Cailin, Presque Isle is Winterfell, Fort Kent is Castle Black and …
Nevermind. I should just quit while I’m ahead. But you can check out the quiz here. — Mario Moretto, BDN.