LePage Rages at Pingree Over DHHS Mismanagement, SNAP/ USDA Kerfluffle
Pass the popcorn. Here is a portion of the latest press release from the Governor’s office:
Rep. Pingree Uses Newspaper to Mislead Mainers, “Political Posturing at its Worst” says Governor LePage
AUGUSTA – Today, Governor Paul LePage released the following statement regarding Representative Chellie Pingree’s attempt to attract media attention in light of the USDA flip-flopped decision regarding overpayments provided to Mainers through the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
“This is political posturing at its worst. Representative Pingree is, once again, using her intimate ties with the Maine Today Media to lie to Maine people. The error in question has no connection whatsoever to system malfunctions, and Pingree is siding with the Federal Government which has decided that during the height of the election campaign it will penalize Maine.
Clearly, Representative Pingree has a history of empowering the heavy hand of the Federal Government over the people of Maine. I will not support Pingree’s demand that Maine taxpayers pay for this. She is out of line and so is the Federal Government. If the feds have an issue about how the State administers their federal program, they are welcome to take back the administration of their program.”
Apparently this is the PPH opinion piece that has the Governor so ticked. A few quotes:
It’s ironic to see an administration that harps on establishing a culture of responsibility trying to get others to pay for its mistake. But that’s what we have in Maine.
In a letter to the state, the USDA said it would absorb about $2 million of the state’s error, but Maine would have to pick up the rest. DHHS is specifically instructed not to try to collect it from the participants.
Rather than take steps to make sure that multimillion-dollar mistakes are not made again, DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew announced Thursday that the state will appeal the decision to the federal government.
That would be as much a waste of staff time and state money as the recent lawsuit attempting to force the federal government to make a quick decision on Maine’s request for a waiver allowing it to balance the budget by dropping nearly 30,000 people from the Medicaid program. The court dismissed the suit, as it should do with this one.
If the LePage administration was serious about saving money, it would take a harder look at how it is spent by DHHS instead of just demonizing the poor. The appeal of this decision apparently shows that taking responsibility is for others where the administration is concerned.
BREAKING story; will be updated as needed.
*RELATED: (UPDATED) USDA To Mayhew, DHHS: $4.8M SNAP Overpayment Cannot Be Recouped From Affected 70k Maine Families
Maine Democrats: “LePage Must Take Responsibility For $4.8M Compliance Error”; Furious Admin Plans To Appeal USDA Decision