Poliquin, somewhat grudgingly, votes for bipartisan budget bill

Nobody’s perfectly happy with the two-year budget deal between congressional leaders and President Barack Obama that cleared the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday.

It would raise spending by $80 billion over that period, dividing that equally between defense and domestic programs. That excess spending was offset by equal amounts of spending cuts and revenue hikes.

Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District, voted for the bill. But just 79 Republicans voted for it, with 167 voting against it. The deal, which was announced on Tuesday, came after a secretive negotiating process that began in September.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District, was among the 79 Republican supporters. In a statement, he said the “secretive process of negotiating major funding deals” between the president and leaders “is not right and it isn’t fair to the American people” because members of Congress should be allowed to offer amendments to budget deals.

All that said, however, he voted for it, saying the government can’t shut down and the bill “will help protect and secure Maine jobs at Bath Iron Works” and at other places in the state.

I’ve written about Poliquin’s “balancing act” between his district and members of his party before as it relates to the Export-Import Bank, which he voted to revive this week after opposing the petition that forcibly removed the issue from his congressional committee for a vote. His budget talk is a similar example. — Michael Shepherd

Ads set to begin in Portland mayoral race

Mayor Michael Brennan and his top opponent, Ethan Strimling, are going to the airwaves as they make their last campaign pushes before Tuesday’s election.

Both will have ads on the air by week’s end, according to WMTW. In clips of the ads played by the Portland ABC affiliate, Strimling stresses a coalition of Portland leaders who support his bid, while Brennan discusses his accomplishments over the past four years. The third candidate, Tom MacMillan, isn’t running ads.

Those have been the narratives in the race to this point, including at a Tuesday debate hosted by WGME and the Bangor Daily News. If you haven’t decided yet, give it a watch— Michael Shepherd

Reading list

Gluing together a coalition?

Gov. Paul LePage has been on a trade mission to Japan and China this week aimed at boosting exports, increasing foreign investment in Maine and enticing high school and college students to study here.

That led my colleague, Chris Cousins, to pass along this online shopping find of his: LePage China Weld Adhesive, for fixing china, pottery and other ceramics and from a gubernatorial-named Canadian company that was formed in 1876.

How did Chris find this? Don’t ask me. But he begs an important question: “Can the governor weld together a coalition, even with glue?” — Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.