October 17, 2017
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LePage, Pence team up to pressure Collins on Obamacare repeal, but she’s ‘leaning against’ it

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Updated:
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Gov. Paul LePage

Gov. Paul LePage was in Washington, D.C., on Friday to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on health care and tax reform.

According to reports about Pence’s daily schedule, the vice president planned to focus Friday on those issues. After meeting with LePage, he planned to travel to his home state of Indiana to meet with families and business leaders.

Pence said the administration is pressuring Maine Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, to support the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“We are encouraging Sen. King, but especially we’re encouraging today Sen. Collins, to join us in this effort to give the people of Maine to give the government of Maine, the resources and the flexibility to be able to craft solutions that will improve the lives and improve the health of the people of Maine,” Pence said in a prepared statement released by LePage’s office.

Collins has told the media that she is “leaning against” Graham-Cassidy, but her spokeswoman reiterated Friday that Collins won’t decide how she’ll vote until she sees a report about the bill’s impact from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That report is expected early next week.

LePage’s office did not respond to questions Friday from the Bangor Daily News. LePage’s Washington, D.C.-based political strategist, Brent Littlefield, declined to comment about the trip.

LePage is a strong supporter of congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his visit to Washington comes as the U.S. Senate debates a major health care system overhaul bill that could come to a vote next week.

Maine’s Republican governor continues to urge his supporters to pressure the state’s U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, to vote for the Obamacare repeal measure. Most recently, he used his weekly radio address and the release about his meeting with Pence to do so.


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