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Maine's U.S. Senators Calling For More Federal Assistance

Greg Nash
AP Images

Many provisions of the federal CARES Act end this month — including expanded unemployment benefits and the Paycheck Protection Act — and Maine’s two U.S. Senators are calling for more federal assistance.

“That money is going right back into the economy, and if the President and Senator McConnell want to support, to keep the economy from collapsing, this is one way to do it,” says Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

King says Congress should have already passed legislation to continue to help individuals, businesses and governments with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says the man in charge of the Senate Majority is standing in the way.

“Mitch McConnell is playing games again, and I don’t really get it,” says King. “Everybody in the country knows, number one, we need another package, and, number two, the general outlines are pretty clear.”

King and Republican Sen. Susan Collins both say the package needs to include aid to schools, individuals and small businesses.

“Although we provided some funds in the CARES act for K-12 education, as well as higher education, it’s clear to me that additional funding is going to be needed,” Collins says.

But Collins says the Democrats are playing games of their own, as the House passed a bill leaders knew would never pass the Senate.

“The House version, called the HEROES Act is dead on arrival in the Senate. That’s a more than three trillion-dollar bill that has a lot of extraneous provisions in it that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.”

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.