Democrats Pass Welfare Expansion on Party Line Vote

Maine now facing millions in fines due to non-compliance with federal work requirements for TANF recipients

Augusta – In a party line vote, House Democrats passed LD 1268 “An Act To Reform Welfare by Establishing Bridges to Sustainable Employment” which is nothing more than a massive expansion of welfare which they are trying to sell to the Maine people as welfare reform.

In addition, a bill whose original intent was to align Maine’s rules with regard to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with federal law was gutted and turned into yet another study by Democrats. Maine has accrued millions of dollars in fines for failing to comply with federal work requirements for TANF recipients. LD 1631 “An Act To Reduce the Liability of Maine Taxpayers by Aligning Maine’s Welfare Programs with Federal Law” would have aligned Maine to federal law and stopped the fines from piling up. Democrats stripped the bill and turned it into yet another study which does not address the issue the original bill was trying to solve. As a result of Maine’s failure to comply, the state has been hit with a $1 million fine already and the federal government is threatening up to $29 million in fines if this situation is not addressed.

“The votes today are very disappointing,” said Assistant House Republican Leader Ellie Espling of New Gloucester. “House Republicans were hopeful that Democrats had changed their position on the very important issue of welfare reform, but in the end it’s more of the same do-nothing pieces of legislation.”

“This is nothing more than election year window dressing by the House Democrats to try to convince the Maine people that they have finally come around on welfare reform,” said Rep. Deb Sanderson, the ranking House Republican on the Health and Human Services Committee. “House Democrats may be fine with a massive expansion of welfare and a status quo system that has seen Maine accrue millions of dollars in fines but the rest of us are not. The Maine people spoke loudly at the polls on this issue and they deserve real, substantive welfare reform.”

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