Sen. Angus King Releases Statement on Senate Budget Agreement

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WABI) - U.S. Senator Angus King released the following statement in response to the announcement that a bipartisan budget agreement has been reached.

King said, “This agreement is great news for bipartisanship and contains many important provisions for Maine, including a reauthorization of community health centers that provide quality care to more than 200,000 Maine people, additional funding to fight the opioid epidemic and infrastructure funds that can be used to improve rural broadband access. Furthermore, the agreement raises budget caps and eliminates the threat of sequestration for two years, giving our military the tools it needs to do its job and ensure our national security.

“Each and every one of these priorities is important, but it’s important to remember that the money has to come from somewhere. This agreement includes a good deal of spending, and comes on the heels of a tax plan that is expected to raise the national deficit by approximately $1 trillion. If we continue at this rate, we will be passing along a tremendous amount of debt to future generations. That’s not the legacy I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. Now that we’ve reached a bipartisan budget deal, I hope we can harness this momentum to get serious about putting our fiscal house in order.”

Although the budget agreement is not yet final, the framework includes several important priorities for Maine, including:

• $6 billion for opioids and mental health
• $5.8 billion for Child Care Development Block Grant program
• $4 billion to rebuild and improve VA Hospitals and Clinics
• A two year reauthorization for Community Health Centers with increased funding, with more than $7 billion in total funding
• Closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole” for seniors in 2019
• 10 years of the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) – increased from 6 years under the previous continuing resolution
• $20 billion on infrastructure including rural broadband
• Fully funding the military for the next two years