The budget deal signed into law last week by President Trump set overall caps on spending. Two members of Maine’s Congressional delegation will be working on filling in the details of the plan over the next six weeks.
Senator Susan Collins and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree sit on the Appropriations Committees of their respective chambers. With the overall spending caps now in place, they will have to determine the spending levels for each program within those overall caps.
“We’ll be able to increase the funding for some vital programs that really were underfunded in our first draft,” says Collins. “But there really is a lot of work to be done.”
Specifically, Collins mentioned community development.
“We have done a lot of work, we will need to incorporate some funding for the community development block grant program that is targeted at the disaster areas,” says Collins.
Collins says a lot of work has been done on the Senate side, but some of that will have to be revisited due to changes in the budget deal.
On the House side, Pingree says the committee will have to modify the already completed funding bill for the current year, and will have finish work on all the bills for next year in about six weeks.
“Now we have to negotiate everything for the coming year as well, so It’s hard for me to picture how it all gets done, but I certainly hope it does” she says.
Pingree says it will be a tough process but she says it must be done to avoid another shutdown.
“I think there will be plenty of sticking points around the healthcare arena because you’ve got everything around the affordable care act, where some things have been stripped out,” Pingree says.
Both elected officials expect a lot of tough negotiating in the weeks ahead.