Both of Maine’s U.S. Senators are casting doubt on the prospects of Congress reaching a speedy agreement on an economic stimulus package, even after benefit programs for unemployed workers and struggling businesses expire.
“The economy contracted in the second quarter at the highest level in American history, and to be saying we don’t need to do anything or effectively saying that by not doing anything is, is just shocking,” says independent U.S. Sen. Angus King.
King puts the blame for the partisan deadlock on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who he says should have worked with Democrats weeks ago to craft a compromise plan.
“The House of Representatives passed their proposal — which I don’t fully support but it was at least the beginning of this discussion — two and a half months ago, May 15, and Mitchel McConnell decided not to do anything,” says King.
Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says there is plenty of blame to go around, but acknowledges the deadlock. She is proposing a short-term measure to give negotiators more time to develop a compromise capable of winning bipartisan support.
“There is some intransigence on both sides and I think there are compromises to be had, and I am trying to solve these problems,” Collins says. “We need to see everyone come together.”