America’s small banks and credit unions didn’t cause the recession of 2008, yet they’re being regulated as if they did. These misplaced regulations are slowing economic growth, and Congress needs to provide our small financial institutions with some relief.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, an issue I care deeply about is whether older Americans will have the financial resources they need to be secure in retirement. After four decades in the workforce, seniors should be confident they will have the money they need to pay their bills and enjoy their retirement, without fearing they will be overtaken by debt and fall into poverty.
Here in Maine, a popular saying is “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” However, as we saw with the recent flash flooding that southern Maine experienced in August, we are all well aware that extreme weather can be dangerous.
While most of Mother Nature’s powers can be anticipated, such as a hurricane or a snowstorm, we sometimes have little or no time to prepare for severe weather.
Every summer, I have the pleasure of welcoming to Washington four outstanding high school students from Maine—our state’s delegates to Boys and Girls Nation. This summer, Muna Mohamed of Lewiston, Helen Zhang of Bangor, Jordan Soper of Blue Hill, and Adam Fortier-Brown of Randolph joined delegates from throughout the country for an invaluable week-long experience in citizenship and government.
An Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) canoe expedition is truly a trip back in time. The waterway is much the same today as it was when Henry David Thoreau visited the area 150 years ago. The Allagash headwater lakes are lined with huge white pine and spruce that dominate the shorelines and the river is subject to the never-ending sound of moving water as it rushes to the sea. These are just some of the sights and sounds of nature that one will experience on an AWW canoe trip.
When a senior becomes ill and is admitted into the hospital, it can be a very scary and trying time for them and their loved ones. They will, no doubt, have many questions for their doctors and nurses and will want to know, among other things, what is wrong with them, what types of medical tests will be conducted, what courses of treatment will be required, and most important, when they will be stable enough to return home.
Imagine a bustling scene of friends and neighbors sorting through piles of fresh vegetables, artisan cheeses and farm-raised meats. In most places throughout America, that would be a quaint but unrealized dream. But in Maine, we call that a Saturday at the farmers market.
Farmers markets have deep roots in New England. Our farmers have been carting their goods to town since colonial times, and that proud tradition is carried on with vigor here in Maine.
A year after a freight train carrying more than a million gallons of crude oil derailed—killing 47 people in the small, picturesque town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which is beginning to heal. The devastation was unimaginable, the loss was unthinkable, and the wounds are still very raw for the residents of this town, just 30 miles from the western Maine border, and for people in our state and around the world.
How do we respect and enhance the freedom of expression enshrined in the first amendment while protecting the government from being corrupted by the unchecked flow of money to public officials?
We have wrestled with this problem for well over a 100 years through periodic scandals and periodic corrections, new laws and new ways to evade those laws. But, as I observed at a Senate Rules Committee hearing on July 23, we have never seen anything like what is happening today.
The Maine Potato Blossom Festival is a time-honored tradition in Aroostook County. First celebrated in 1937, Potato Blossom is one of Maine’s oldest festivals. From the parade to the mashed potato wrestling, the multi-day event in Fort Fairfield is a fun and fitting tribute to Maine potatoes and the hardworking farmers that grow them.
Medicare is critical to our nation, providing health coverage for more than 54 million American seniors and disabled individuals. Given its paramount importance, as well as the looming financial insolvency the program faces, it is simply unacceptable that improper payments are continuing to soar in the Medicare program.
These improper payments waste taxpayer dollars while compromising the financial integrity of the Medicare program and undermining our ability to provide needed health care services to those who depend on this vital program.
Scattered throughout Maine’s thousands of miles of jagged coastline are more than 60 lighthouses. These iconic symbols of our state’s rugged beauty and maritime heritage are more than just postcard-worthy buildings—for hundreds of years, they have helped seafarers navigate our rocky shores.
From Nubble Light in York to West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine’s lighthouses serve as indispensable beacons of safety up and down our coast, guiding sailors, fishermen, and recreational boaters home. Some of these impressive structures are almost as old as America itself.
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) is truly the jewel of Maine’s legendary north woods. The waterway is a remote 92- mile long river and lake area that is managed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Allagash is one of the premier canoe trips in the eastern United States. The fisheries of the waterway are plentiful and essentially native. The primary visitors to the waterway are canoeists and fishermen.
As I travel all across our state, I have extensive conversations with small business owners and workers about the challenges they face. While there is no doubt that our nation’s unemployment rate remains unacceptably high, I have met with employers in Maine who have jobs available but who cannot find qualified and trained workers to fill these vacant positions.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Those aren’t the first words of the Declaration of Independence, but they are arguably the most famous. And while Thomas Jefferson agonized over every detail of our country’s greatest declaration, not all of those words came from his pen alone.
As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, more and more Americans today are receiving social security benefits. Yet, despite this substantial increase in caseload, the Social Security Administration is actually closing field offices. In the past five years, the SSA has closed 64 of approximately 1,245 field offices—the largest field office reduction in history—and shuttered 533 temporary mobile offices. Furthermore, it has reduced field office hours and started closing some offices at noon on Wednesdays last year.
I am deeply troubled by allegations of wrongdoing at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities around the country. The allegations of gross mismanagement and fraud are alarming and describe conduct that is reprehensible. The Inspector General’s investigation and findings are a call to action.
It’s no secret that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had a rough start. But as the website runs more smoothly, and more and more Americans sign up for healthcare, something else is increasingly clear: in many ways the Affordable Care Act is starting to work.