They must have been listening ….

SACO – Almost as soon as I posted a request to find out about the budget crisis in Washington (Budget deadline looming), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced there was a deal, of sorts.

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They must have been listening.

The house voted earlier this week and the two-year plan he brokered with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray passed 332-94.

In the middle of the snowstorm I watched as Ryan and Murray defended their agreement on “Meet the Press.”

As you would expect, “We didn’t get everything we wanted,” Murray told David Gregory, the host of the show.  “But I’ll tell you what we did get is certainty for the next couple years.”

The vote in the house wasn’t close, but there was opposition. Conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Tea Party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. all complained about the agreement and vowed to continue to fight against it.

Even here in Maine, there is disagreement.

Rep. Chellie Pingree voted against the budget compromise and Rep. Mike Michaud voted for it. Interestingly, from my perspective, both are democrats and both saw the agreement in a different light.

“I was still concerned that there were things in this piece of legislation that I didn’t approve of. Frankly, I thought we could have done much more to put taxes on the wealthiest people in this country, instead of fees and hidden costs, which are like a hidden tax. I was also concerned that we didn’t extend unemployment benefits, and there’s a considerable number of people in Maine whose benefits will run out in January,” Pingree said in an interview with MPBN radio.

“The reason why I decided to support this budget is actually it does provide for the first time a two-year budget, which brings certainty over the next two years,” Michaud said in the same interview. “The failure to extend unemployment benefits is a huge disappointment, but it was still important to vote in favor of the measure.”

Michaud is running for Governor in 2014 and he believes it is in the state’s and country’s best interest to sign a two-year budget plan.

The Democrat-controlled Senate is scheduled to take a final vote this week on the proposal. And by the way, federal funding runs out Jan. 15.

 

David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. As a teacher and writer who’s seen more than half a century of life, I’m astonished by the people I now call neighbors and friends.