Caught in middle of Iran debate, Angus King to question Obama officials

Good morning from Augusta. 

Response briefs are due at noon today in the case of the 65 laws currently in dispute by Gov. Paul LePage. As you know, LePage believes the Legislature must consider his attempted vetoes, but most lawmakers — including the Senate president and House speaker — say he missed his chance to veto by blowing past the 10-day deadline to do so. 

Attorneys on both sides of the issue have worked at lightning pace, as the Supreme Judicial Court set an expedited schedule to resolve the issue. Initial briefs were filed July 24, and oral arguments are scheduled for Friday morning.

Check back later today for updates. — Mario Moretto, BDN.

Enjoy the Daily Brief? Subscribe here to receive it in your email inbox every morning. 

Angus King to grill Obama officials in hearing on Iran nuclear deal

Maine’s junior U.S. senator, Angus King, is being lobbied hard by both sides in the ongoing debate about the deal struck by President Barack Obama and the government in Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

The president says the deal, which lifts economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for nuclear concessions from that country’s leaders, is the best chance to prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon.

Many in Congress disagree, saying the deal is too soft and will at best delay Iran’s nuclear capability, not prevent it.

Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee — of which King is a member — will hold a hearing to question Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey about the deal.

Opponents are attempting to block the deal, but they need super-majorities in both chambers of Congress to do it, which is a tall order, to say the least.

That’s where King, an independent who so far has remained on the fence about the deal, becomes a target. (For more, check this New York Times article about Obama lobbying lawmakers to support the deal).

“Since the nuclear agreement with Iran was announced earlier this month, Senator King has called for careful and responsible review of the deal,” read a press release from King’s office. — Mario Moretto, Bangor Daily News.

Reading list

Pray to avoid Silent Hill

Creepy, huh?

Lots of authors, screenwriters and videogame developers want to set their stories in Maine. But a new killing every week (“Murder, She Wrote”) or a family of vampires skulking about (“Dark Shadows”) or every kind of monster, ghoul and thing that goes bump in the night (Stephen King’s books, “Silent Hill”) is a hard thing to pin on a real Maine town.

So most writers make one up. The quizmasters up at BDN headquarters in Bangor made this fun test to figure out which fictional Maine town you should call home. Make sure to pack accordingly. — Mario Moretto, BDN.

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. Mario left the BDN in 2015.