Remembered by some as the Republican who joined the Democrats with a vote for last year’s healthcare bill, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe helped write the bill, which emerged late in 2009 from the Senate Finance Committee. (Although she voted for it in committee to advance it to the Senate floor, she actually voted against the final version).
Back then, President Obama desired Snowe’s input. She also supported President Obama’s stimulus package. And now it looks like the bipartisanship will not be returned.
Snowe is cosponsor of the current balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. She also voted “yes” to propose a balanced-budget constitutional amendment in 1997. This is once again a hot topic as the concept of increasing the debt ceiling looms over the country.
Many Democrat legislators want no part of the amendment. According to economist Walter Williams, the amendment is already long overdue, as it won’t become law for five to six years, and we will be broke by then—but it’s our only shot at solvency. Still, President Obama opposes the amendment and announced in his address to the nation July 11 that he would not consider temporary stopgap resolutions to the problem, either.
Article V of the Constitution states that it takes two-thirds of both Houses to propose Amendments to the Constitution. But another approach is that two-thirds of state legislatures can request a convention to propose an amendment. The amendment must next be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or three-fourths of state conventions called for that purpose.
In a press release dated July 10 concerning unemployment, Snowe says she advocated for an economy favoring job growth to the president and to Treasury Secretary Geithner. “The Secretary told me I was too ‘dark and pessimistic’ about the state of our economy.” Snowe says enforcing the rights and benefits under our nation’s existing trade policies is vital to protecting American jobs. And before we consider saddling our children with even more debt, she wants to see significant spending cuts and enforceable caps on future spending. The balanced-budget amendment will prevent Congress from hijacking the promise of American prosperity.
On July 11 Senator Snowe voted “yes” on the Motion to Proceed to Consider S.1323. If it passes, it would express the sense of the Senate on shared sacrifice in resolving the budget deficit, stating that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1 million or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort by paying higher taxes than they do now.
Tea Party Patriot Group Organizer Matt Mattingly of Maine says Senator Snowe represents her district well given the diversity of the public there. Pertaining to her “yes” vote on the healthcare bill, Mattingly said, “That is misinformation. She voted ‘yes’ to amendments. She was promised by Reid that they were going to offer amendments. She voted in committee to get it [to the floor]. If she’d voted ‘no,’ she would not have had the opportunity to offer any amendments. It was a procedural vote. But they were shut down after that.” Snow later voted against the final version. When asked if he thought the Democrats owe Snowe, Mattingly said, “You’d think the support would be a two-way street due to her willingness to sit down and find compromise.”
Snowe’s office did not respond to a request for comment on this story.