President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget doesn’t impress Maine’s Democratic member of Congress or its independent senator.

And Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has concerns.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat, said she won’t stand for Trump’s “foolish and shortsighted budget proposal which will make America less healthy, safe, and economically secure.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King wasn’t quite as harsh, suggesting the spending plan “doesn’t seem like a serious attempt to offer a reasonable, cost-cutting budget — and, sadly, it’s hard-working, middle-class folks throughout the state who would bear the brunt of it all.”

Trump’s budget calls for shifting $54 billion from domestic programs to bolster the military and homeland security, including the first big payment toward a border wall with Mexico.

It proposes major cuts to agricultural, environmental and other programs that have large constituencies who will press Congress to restore the funding as legislators work to craft a budget in the months ahead. 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins hasn’t yet weighed in with her thoughts on Trump’s proposal.

Poliquin, who’s from the 2nd District, said he is “extremely encouraged” that Trump “promises vital increases to veterans’ services in Maine and across the nation.”

“In addition, I’m pleased the president is committed to strengthening our national security and securing essential funding to our American workers, like our shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works,” Poliquin said.

But the second-term GOP legislator said he also wants  “to make sure we maintain support for programs and agencies that serve our families and communities, help protect our environment and provide quality programing for children.”

He said he is specifically concerned “about making too significant reductions” to programs such a heating assistance for the poor, Community Development Block Grants and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“I would also need to closely look at any changes to environmental services that directly impact Maine,” Poliquin said.

King said that he agrees “with the need to reduce federal spending as part of a balanced effort to tackle the debt and deficit, but I have a hard time seeing how eliminating heating assistance, cutting medical research and ending economic development funding do little more than harm people, families and businesses across Maine.”

“And reducing State Department funding by nearly a third only jeopardizes our security and makes us less safe from global threats — not more,” King said.

Pingree cited proposed cuts in Meals on Wheels, heating assistance for low-income families and economic stimulus programs as evidence Trump is “out of touch” with “the needs of real Americans.”

She said cuts to CDBG and other targeted programs “would leave Mainers and Maine communities behind.”

“For those of us who know the impact these domestic cuts will have on the communities we serve, President Trump’s budget proposal is dead on arrival,” she said.

Pingree also took particular aim at Trump’s plan to slice agricultural funding by 29 percent.

“Slashing all discretionary funds from Rural Business and Cooperative Services will only stifle economic development in rural America and harm the very communities that the president claims to support,” Pingree said.

“Farmers in Maine and across the country benefit greatly from Value Added Producer Grants, the Rural Energy for America Program, and military veteran farmer training” organized by the federal government, she said.

Pingree said Department of Agriculture field office staff are its “boots on the ground providing farmers with essential technical assistance and outreach, yet President Trump wants to cut these positions which have an enormous impact in rural communities.”

Poliquin said the House “has the Constitutional responsibility to approve a budget for the federal government” so “I’m going to thoroughly examine the president’s proposal in the coming months as Congress works to approve a final budget.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King
AP

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