Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Senator Collins on President Obama's address

Maine Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and a member of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committee, tonight released this statement following President Barack Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress.

"Our nation is struggling. Our economy is in turmoil. Job losses are mounting and hard-working families are worried. That is why it is critical that Congress work together with our President to help restore our nation's confidence, to get our economy working again, to get people back to work, to ease credit, and to address our current housing crisis. We also need to put in place strong new protective measures to help ensure that the crisis in the financial markets does not happen again. I am pleased to hear the President express support for regulatory reforms similar to those included in legislation that I authored that would that would close dangerous gaps in our oversight of financial markets and lead to comprehensive reform of our financial regulatory system.

"The President is expected to present his proposed budget to Congress later this week. I am pleased that the President tonight focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency as ways to reduce our dangerous dependence on Middle East oil. As the President emphasized, the plan should promote conservation, spur development of alternative energy sources, and expand production of American energy. And, as the President discussed, we need to work together to address the crucial need for access to affordable health care for every American. These issues are too important to be viewed through a partisan political lens. I urge the President and leaders on both sides of the aisle to listen to all ideas as we try to come up with the best plans to help the American people.

"The people of Maine and our country are looking to Washington for leadership during a very difficult time. Our country faces great challenges. We have always risen to meet those challenges, and I am confident that working closely, in a bipartisan spirit, we can work to address the challenges that will determine our country's future."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Portsmouth Herald: Collins sets example more Republicans must follow

from The Portsmouth Herald:
Once again, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has put our nation's best interests before partisan politics and provided leadership during a time of crisis.

While most in Washington continue to fiddle while the U.S. economy burns, Collins, a Republican, worked with her Democratic colleagues on a compromise stimulus package that passed on a 61-37 vote on Tuesday.

"This bill is not perfect," Collins said Monday. "We're not claiming that. But, in fact, I think this bill will help to create 3.5 million jobs. ... We're facing a crisis, and it makes no sense to have a partisan divide."

Read the whole editorial

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

US Chamber of Commerce supports Collins-Nelson plan

R. Bruce Josten, Executive VP of the US Chamber of Commerce, issued this letter yesterday:


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to support cloture on the Collins-Nelson amendment to H.R. 1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” The Chamber also renews its call that the Senate approve H.R. 1 without delay so that the House and Senate can expeditiously complete work on a conference report that provides timely, targeted, and temporary economic stimulus.

The Chamber recognizes that the evolving legislation is not perfect, but believes that it is vital that Congress quickly approve legislation to assist the crumbling U.S. economy. The Chamber strongly supports cloture on the Collins-Nelson amendment, which will refine H.R. 1 and, most importantly, allow the legislative process to proceed.

Overall, the Chamber supports many of the pro-growth tax initiatives in the bill, as well as spending-side provisions to provide stimulus, create jobs and to get Americans back to work.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, looks forward to working with the Senate, House and the Administration to accomplish meaningful economic stimulus legislation that can be signed into law in the coming days.

R. Bruce Josten

Monday, February 9, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

CNN:Republican senator on stimulus: 'We're close'

from CNN:
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and other Republicans in an early morning meeting told CNN Radio that they've handed over a list of potential cuts to Democratic leaders and are waiting for a response.

"The ball's really in their court," Collins said. A few hours later, Collins walked out of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office smiling and told reporters, "We're close."

Read the whole article

Senator Collins on NBC Nightly News

Washington Post: A Horse and Pony Show

From Dana Milbank's column in the Washington Post:
Lawmakers, the saying goes, are either workhorses or show horses. As they debated the economic stimulus package yesterday, senators took this truism a step further: The workhorses and the show horses split into rival herds and began whinnying at each other.

The workhorses -- an ad hoc group of 18 moderates and dealmakers from both parties -- holed up in a committee room on the third floor of the Dirksen Building, tossed out their staff and got to work on a compromise plan that could get bipartisan support.

The workhorses, taking a lunch break so some of them could confer with the White House about the compromise, were pleased with their labors.

The show horses -- including the leadership of both parties -- gave speeches on the Senate floor and news conferences either to trade blame for partisan deadlock or to denounce the Group of 18's dealmaking efforts.

"It is unusual to think of senators actually doing that kind of painstaking, thorough work," said Susan Collins (Maine), leader of the Republican workhorses.

Read the whole column

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Abandoning six-day mail delivery is unacceptable

Column by Senator Susan Collins, from Foster's:

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has traditionally prided itself on the fact that "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" can keep its carriers from the "swift completion of their appointed rounds." That is why I was astonished to hear that the USPS is considering reducing mail delivery from six days a week to just five.

Postmaster General John Potter recently made this unexpected recommendation during a hearing before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, of which I am the ranking member. The purpose of this hearing was to examine the impact of the current economic crisis on the U.S. Postal Service.

There is no doubt that the recession is affecting virtually every sector of our economy, including the postal service. The statistics are alarming. Maine's unemployment rate hit a 16-year high of seven percent at year's end, with widespread job losses in the retail, forest products, construction, boatbuilding, publishing, and hospitality industries.

Read the whole column

CQ: Senate Sees Finish Line for Stimulus

from CQ Politics:
Senate Democratic leaders hope to finish work on an economic stimulus bill Thursday as moderates from both parties push for spending cuts in the package, arguing that they are the best way to secure a bipartisan vote.

Ben Nelson , D-Neb., and Susan Collins , R-Maine, are leading the moderates’ effort, even as the Senate added billions more in spending provisions and tax cuts Wednesday evening, including a major expansion of a tax credit for homebuyers.

Both lawmakers met individually with President Obama earlier in the day, as he again urged quick passage of the legislation, warning that any delay could have dire consequences for the economy.

Read the whole article

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

CBS Evening News: Senator Collins meets with Obama

from tonight's CBS Evening News:

Politico: Obama courts moderate senators on stimulus

from Manu Raju at Politico:
Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose support is critical for the fate of the economic stimulus package, told President Obama Wednesday that billions of dollars of programs would need to be slashed from the bill in order to win bipartisan backing.

Emerging from a White House meeting, the two senators said they believed Obama was open to making changes to the bill, which has become the new president’s first big test in Congress. The senators – both moderates whose votes would help the Senate hit the critical 60 vote threshold on the stimulus -- met separately with the president on Wednesday afternoon....

Collins said she raised concerns over provisions that would do little to stimulate the economy, citing spending to upgrade facilities and information technology at the State Department, addressing pandemic flu spending and boosting cybersecurity. She called on such measures to go through the regular appropriations process, and she said the president acknowledged that some provisions added by lawmakers “do not really belong in the bill.”

Read the whole article

AP: U.S. Senators From Maine To Meet With President Obama

from the Associated Press, via WMTW:
Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

The meeting comes as centrists in both parties seek to clear away spending items that won't jump start the economy right away.

Read the whole article

Press Herald: Maine Senators at center of stimulus negotiations

from Dieter Bradbury at the Portland Press Herald:
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are playing key roles as the Senate struggles to fashion an economic stimulus package that enjoys bipartisan support.

The two Maine Republicans, moderates with a willingness to work with Democrats, are deeply involved in negotiations to shape a bill that blends tax cuts and targeted spending.

They will meet with President Obama in the White House today as part of a group of senators summoned to discuss the stimulus. Both agree that a stimulus is needed, but both have expressed concerns about the $819 billion bill passed by the House last week.

Snowe and Collins said the House bill, and the $885 billion Senate version drafted by Democratic leaders, include spending provisions that would not boost the economy. They said they wanted to see a more streamlined, amended proposal with spending targeted to quick economic benefits.

Read the whole article

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Moderate Voice: Collins, Nelson work on Bipartisan Stimulus Bill

from Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice:
... there is some good news today – besides it being Super Bowl Day:

A Democratic Senator and a Republican Senator have been working all weekend trying to remove sticking points from the House bill so that a compromise bill can be presented that’ll have better chance of being passed than the bill in its current form.

The Senators: Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Their goal: to remove all the little pet projects that even a head of cabbage knows don’t really qualify as stimulus and to get the bill centered on what most Americans had hoped would emerge...

Read the whole post