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Politics

With Budget Talks Stalling, Maine Borrows Congress Tactics

AUGUSTA, Maine — A state known for a legacy of genteel politicians has resorted to borrowing tactics from Congress as budget talks stall ahead of potential government shutdown.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage had thrown out the contentious idea of using continuous resolutions to keep state government running with short-term budgets.

In an unprecedented step, a group of six Maine lawmakers are now serving as special budget negotiators. In Congress, bipartisan "gangs" occasionally try hashing out deals.

Maine’s special budget negotiations began Tuesday night and LePage met with legislative leaders behind closed doors Friday. Meanwhile, politicians and journalists are renewing criticism over closed-door negotiations over the U.S. Senate health care bill.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz said Thursday that former U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and George Mitchell fought hard while recognizing a need to compromise.