Maine Democrats gut welfare reform


745px-MaineStateHouse1AUGUSTA – Democrats on the Health and Human Services Committee gutted two of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s welfare reform proposals on Wednesday, voting against two of the bills and turning two others into study resolves.

“It is incomprehensible that Democrats on the Health and Human Services Committee would vote to reject these common-sense proposals,” LePage said in a statement.

ebt cardL.D. 1815, sponsored by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport, would have required welfare applicants to apply for three jobs before receiving cash benefits. Democrats voted this proposal down because it would provide unnecessary hardship for poor families.

L.D. 1842, sponsored by Rep. James Gillway (R-Searsport), would have eliminated exemptions in the state’s TANF statutes that allow welfare recipients to skip work search and career development programs for almost any reason. The LePage administration said the bill was needed to avoid fines from the federal government over roughly $13 million for 2007-2011. The fines have been assessed because too few of Maine’s TANF recipients are meeting federally determined work participation guidelines.

L.D. 1820, sponsored by Rep. Allen Nadeau (R-Fort Kent), would have restricted EBT card use outside of Maine. This bill was a response to The Maine Wire’s investigative reports in January, which showed that Maine EBT cards were being used in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including at casinos in Las Vegas and at Disney World in Florida.

Democrats on the HHS Committee stated during the work session that they did not trust the information provided by The Maine Wire. The bill will now, if passed, form a taxpayer-funded commission to study whether Maine EBT cards are being used out of state and what can be done about it. 

L.D. 1822, sponsored by Rep. Sharri MacDonald (R-Old Orchard Beach), would have prevented TANF benefits from being spent on liquor, tobacco, gambling and adult entertainment. Democrats attempted to turn this bill into a study commission, resulting in a divided committee report.

All the bills were voted strictly along party lines, 7-5, with Republicans voting to pass the bills without amendment, while Democrats voted against bills or voted in favor of gutted versions.

“I am the first one in line to help someone in need, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of and neither do hard-working Mainers,” said LePage. “These liberal politicians would rather see welfare cash benefits, which are provided by struggling Maine taxpayers, go out of state than to keep that money in Maine.”

“They prefer to automatically hand out welfare benefits to anyone who applies, instead of simply asking them to look for work first,” he said. “This is outrageous.”


  1. They aren’t looking out for me or my family. They are worried about the welfare recipients AND the next ELECTION. If your on unemployment you must look for work, why shouldn’t those on state aid have to look for work. I personally am sick of carrying the weight of others as well as my family of 5.

  2. The insanity suffered by the Democrats is now readily visible for all to see. In their arrogance and thirst for power they have developed tunnel vision where all they can see is the illogical pursuit of the welfare nanny state with no regard for cost or consequence.

  3. Unfortunately welfare benefits have become an entitlement to those whom choose not to work, or whom work under the table. This way of life is a learned behavior that goes back to ones upbringing, “you learn what you live”. In order for this cycle to change, it has to be more difficult to qualify for benefits. How about a professionally administered lie detector test. When one goes in to apply for benefits they do so hooked up to a lie detector, if all of the questions asked received truthful answers then they would qualify for benefits. If not they would

  4. I am on state aid because i need it. I am currently looking for work even though I qualify for Social Security. I have a lot of mobile and mental problems that can not be dealt with lightly. I think LaPage is just an idiot trying to make everyone suffer for his benefit. he’s not looking out for the people in need or the people who deserve/need the state aid/help. I, being one of those people, think that, yes everyone able look for work, but just look around you. there is no jobs. there is no one hiring. and when there is, they wont hire anyone under a high school grad. or anyone that hasn’t has a job before. think about that for a minute before you all start saying how people on state aid don’t actually need it.

  5. I’m sick of hearing there is no work BS, maybe not full time employment but there is work get off your butts and looks for it. I see bus loads of I migrant workers brought into this state every year to harvest berries, work farms and such. Do you know why because shortage of workers because people don’t want to work. I live on the coast and have several jobs including my own business. Two of them jobs are clamming and bloodworming. I bet some of the jobless folks in my town could pick up a worm or clam hoe. When faced with a job most will make a excuse why they can not take it so stop with the no job BS. In all reality it just doesnt support your way of life cant have the best of everything so they dont take it. I’m not a collage grade and have been employed my whole life.. Give up your I phones and expensive new cars and do what you have to do to get by… My family is sick of going with out those things so folks can sit on their ass and have them.. Lepage has some nuts and can make a change in this state if we could get rid of the dumb ass’s holding us back…

  6. child support often comes to single mothers in the form of TANF…the money their exes pay in is put on those cards. not all tanf recipients are spending taxpayer money. they are spending the support the state of maine had to chase down for them. and what they spend it on is their own damn business.

  7. How about we stop making everything about divisive party politics and start using both an open mind and common sense? I identify more often as a Democrat or a Liberal, and I basically agree with all of this. And *gasp* I also like guns, agree with gay marriage, and quite often vote Republican. Know why? Because I think for myself and don’t give a damn what other Democrats or Liberals might think.


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