LePage steps up feud: Governor rips Pingree, ‘jet-setting Washington culture’

PORTLAND — Gov. Paul LePage sharpened his attack on U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree over Medicaid cuts on Wednesday, suggesting Pingree is part of the “jet-setting Washington culture that keeps people dependent on government handouts.”

The Republican governor was angered when he learned Pingree, a Democrat, had urged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reject Medicaid cuts approved by the Legislature that will eliminate coverage for more than 20,000 Mainers. LePage contends the cuts are legal because the Supreme Court decision that upheld President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul limited congressional power to expand Medicaid.

LePage sent a letter Wednesday to Sebelius saying Pingree made claims “that are, at best, misleading, and at worst, false.” He also sent a letter to Pingree telling that she prefers to represent “the power of bureaucrats in Washington” instead of the people of Maine.

Pingree responded by saying she never intended to engage in a public feud with LePage, but that she’s not backing down from fighting to save the benefits for “seniors, young people, people with disabilities and working families struggling to make ends meet.”

“Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them by taking away their health care,” she said in a statement.

In a budget-cutting move, the Republican-controlled Legislature eliminated Medicaid coverage for seniors and people with disabilities in the Medicare Savings Program, 19- and 20-year-olds, and parents with incomes between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty level, allowing coverage for a family of three earning as much as $25,390.

Pingree contends the federal law prevents states from reducing Medicaid cuts before 2014, a provision that remains in effect after the Supreme Court ruling.

The two couldn’t even agree on the number of people who lost coverage. Pingree put the number at 27,000, while LePage said the figure for which the state originally needed a waiver was 21,000.

LePage opened his letter to Pingree with a personal attack on the “jet-setting Washington culture,” an apparent reference to flights she’s taken in her husband’s private jet, and included this partisan rebuke:

“You sing from the same old songbook: Raise taxes, raise the debt ceiling and use the power of the federal government to order around Americans and the state. It is time to stop,” he wrote.

Responded Pingree: “The health care reform law was debated and passed by Congress, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. It’s time to stop fighting about the health care law and start following it.

Pat Wellenbach, Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage takes a sip out of a coffee mug displaying a "no new taxes" message on the bottom during an interview last month with the Associated Press at his office at the State House in Augusta.

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Comments

Catherine Pressey's picture

LePage picture with mug

The smug man with the mug has got to go. He is an embarrassment to each and everyone of us here in Maine and our country. What he says is rude and crude yet he says what he wants is to bring costs down. What he wants is for lots of people to just lay down and die. Where are the jobs going to come from to offer medical insurance to their employees. What does he thing taking medical is going to do. He calls the IRS the gestapo, the only tyrant in this area is he himself. Smug little minded man that never cared one bit for the workers in this state. How many people working at Marden's have insurance or can make ends meet. This is like the song Tenn Earie Ford sang. About owing ones soul to the company store. What Lepage wants is to have nothing but slaves here in the state that just can not catch a break. Cut the fat out of his diet. And the picture here with the mug make a pretty looking example of a pig for our Governor. Oink Oink, Paulie

Jason Theriault's picture

I hate staged photos

I hate staged photos. "Look at me, I'm so clever with my coffee mug"

Tony Morin's picture

That is hilarious!

Well done. I hate having to look at the original photo recently. I usually check out the website during my lunch.

LePage

I find it amusing that a man who works for the government and gets tons of freebies for doing so as well as a hefty payroll, has such an issue with the government "handouts" as he calls them, being given to others. The state now offers assistance only to those who are already well below the poverty level, and many who need help cannot get help. I have worked all my life, already logging in more hours than most when retiring at 70. I started working when I was 13 and worked until I for one was left disabled while working 3 jobs [two 40 hour and one 32 hour] in a car accident 8 years ago. I am almost 40 and have nothing to speak of. People like LePage say I should get a job. Really? Where? How? I get a disability check [less than 10,000 a year] and only get 13 dollars in food stamps a month. But according to him I should get neither. Are you kidding me? I know not everyone on the system are like me [want to work but cant] but honestly it's harsh at best. I do understand that those who just don't want to work should be made to, and I do agree that those who are capable should be trained for jobs they can do, but I do not agree that people who need help should be cut off. This is just me, blessings Ruth

Catherine Pressey's picture

LePage / Ruth

I agree with you, and he did not mind putting his daughter into a good job right out of school, she will not need food stamps or a helping hand from the taxpayors because daddy made sure tax money will support her, Oh yes, oh that is right she has a job while you or lots of us that do want to work that may have disabilities that might I add came on while we were employed. And I take it that in some cases the courts or workers comp. let us down. And if there are not jobs for the able bodied people that just where are those that have limitations going to find work. LePage does not understand truly what it is like. He talks the talk but can not walk the walk. ......

Catherine Pressey's picture

LePage / Ruth

I agree with you, and he did not mind putting his daughter into a good job right out of school, she will not need food stamps or a helping hand from the taxpayors because daddy made sure tax money will support her, Oh yes, oh that is right she has a job while you or lots of us that do want to work that may have disabilities that might I add came on while we were employed. And I take it that in some cases the courts or workers comp. let us down. And if there are not jobs for the able bodied people that just where are those that have limitations going to find work. LePage does not understand truly what it is like. He talks the talk but can not walk the walk. ......

Michael Schaedler's picture

You don't really believe he

You don't really believe he wants no one to get the help they really need, do you?

Michael Schaedler's picture

Actually since last year

Actually since last year Maine has moved up 5 states in relation to being business friendly. http://www.cnbc.com/id/46415176

Starting to be more business friendly is a better direction than where we were staying at.

Catherine Pressey's picture

Michael Schaedler

Business friendly you say. On what facts are you speaking do you mean now we have stores that sell fireworks so that most people now live in constant war type zones, or the Casino in Oxford. What business friendly, businesses are you speaking. I am real interested in where they are. Or was taking down the Mural the key to our wonderful success.

Catherine Pressey's picture

Michael Schaedler

Business friendly you say. On what facts are you speaking do you mean now we have stores that sell fireworks so that most people now live in constant war type zones, or the Casino in Oxford. What business friendly, businesses are you speaking. I am real interested in where they are. Or was taking down the Mural the key to our wonderful success.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Double dip

The last report I read said that Maine was one of 5 states in danger of slipping into a double dip recession in the fall. I guess this makes us the best of the worst. Maybe they just slid backwards faster than we did.

Norman McNamara's picture

vulgar tyrant

Gov. LaPage has shown his crooked side since taking office! He is rude, uni-partisan, showing blatant cronyism by giving his daughter an entry level position paying $41,000.00!!!!!! That is not all as he clearly running the state of Maine like the Bushes ran the Whitehouse into the ground, alienating most of our former allies!!!!

LaPage is like a keystone cop and people just do not see it or just use selective memory. I just know that the majority voted him in but I did not,,,,,,, proudly.

Brian Allen Small's picture

I will Take Gov LePage

Any day over the so called "Hope and Change" crowd! I love it when he ruffles the feathers of the gimme crowd both locally and in Washington.

W O R K it isnt a radio station in Maine any more!

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Too easy

Arguing with Mr. Lepage is like shooting fish in a barrel, and Ms. Pingree knows just what she's doing. If you push back, you can get him to sputtering and he'll reveal his true colors every time, with the namecalling and the snide remarks. Get him, Chellie!

Catherine Pressey's picture

Too easy / Kathy

Or LePage may start to froth at the mouth and druel, go into a rage. Clearly he deals from the bottom of the deck in any sense of the work. And to vote him into office was someones gamble. Not mine, Smugg the mugg wee minded LePage that has not done anything good either for the state or the country.

Michael Schaedler's picture

Gov. LePage is doing a

Gov. LePage is doing a wonderful job of trying to bring financial responsibility to this state.
I will vote for him again.
The people that actually really need help will get what they need, under him.
The system over 40 years of liberal democrat control has come to the point where it wants you to own nothing and be fully dependant upon the government for everything. People that ask for a little help with heat or some other single need, need to sign up for all the handouts or get nothing, etc, etc, etc. The common sense in government had withered away until LePage got into office. The change is trumatic to those used to having the government support, while controlling you, from birth to death. LePage is a breath of fresh air.
Thanks for trying to change this state from a begger state hoping someone that earns an income producing something will come and pay us so they can look at where we try to live. Thanks for trying to change us to a productive responsible state that produces things and doesn't spend more than we make.
Just something to ponder.

Yeah, he's doing a great job

Which is why Maine was the only sate in new England to fall BACKWARDS economically last year. That's why he's discouraging small businesses by witholding grant and bond money for infrastructure and community redevelopment that's already been approved (and bonds issued) by the people of Maine. His moves have NOTHING to do with helping Maine. They are only to serve his ideological base. Take off your blinders and look at the larger impact of his actions and words.

Chris Blake's picture

You don't know enough people

I can direct you to a lot of people I know who are facing cuts to services they need because of him. They are the epitome of looking for a hand up not a hand out, yet they're the one's getting cut off this summer. You need to stop listening to the propaganda and get out there and see what's happening.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Exactly. These populists

Exactly. These populists scream about waste and fraud, yet they cut people who are doing neither! Worse, they don't have enough experience to be able to predict the chain reaction and unintended consequences of these decisions.

Gov.not working for me...

This governor claims to work for the people of Maine out of one side of his big mouth, then cuts benefits for “seniors, young people, people with disabilities and working families struggling to make ends meet.” Where is that working for the people of Maine???? His only followers are the few that voted for him, and that number is dwindling...so many people that I speak with daily, that did indeed vote for him, have stated their remorse for ever doing so. He is not representing me and many other people that live in this state...what embarrassment for this state. Wish there was a way to make him "go away".....

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

One of many

I suspect the folks in Millinocket, Norway and Rumford would agree with you just about now.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Here we go again....

Who ever can say LePage is the" best " with a strait face, Doesn't get it. He won't get it either until he has lived in the shoes of someone who is living day to day with illness or a disability, and lets not forget the elderly. Unless you have experienced the fact that your whole livelihood depends on decisions made by people out of your control.
LePage, doesn't care about those people, he's trying to make a name for himself on the backs of those least able to fight back. He needs to be taken out of office before he kills someone. Someone will die as a result of one of this idiots decisions, it's only a matter of time. You can tell me how wrong I am, and how great he is. Actions speak louder than words, just look at who he is hurting. Being incapacitated is very scary, just the situation itself. When you have someone picking away at what little support you get, for political credibility, is about as low as anyone can get. And as far as I'm concerned LePage is lower than that....

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

No you don't

You can't have it both ways governor. You deride her for being rich enough to have a jet (actually her husband's) but you are always spouting the virtues of the "job creators". They have lots of jets and houses and off-shore bank accounts and according to you they have all the answers. You also claim she is not doing the will of the people and choosing to follow ideology instead. . Really funny coming from a guy who is stalling bonds approved by 65% of the people because you don't like bonds.

David Marsters's picture

He is the man

Gov LePage is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Keep up the good work. We need more pols like you.

Chris Blake's picture

He knows false claims

The guy who claimed the IRS are now secret police is clearly an expert in making untrue statements.

Pingree works for us, not you governor.

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

Continues to display ignorance

LePage is an embarrassment. I got an e-mail from a friend in the Pacific northwest who had watched a compilation of his cries for attention - my friend's e-mail said, "Maine - the new Texas."

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