To the Editor:
Rep. Jared Golden’s vote for President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill for safe roads, bridges, trains, water, sewage disposal and airports, which became law on Nov. 15, is to be applauded.
His recent vote as the only Democrat opposed to President Biden’s Build Back Better bill that passed the House on Nov. 19 and is now headed to the Senate for revision is disappointing.
However, his vote needs more scrutiny than a flat-out condemnation.
As we in the Second District are neither left nor right but centrists in our beliefs, I believe Rep. Golden is committed to his constituents.
On writing to Rep. Golden on three occasions asking him to vote yes, his responses were thoughtful. His commitment to working on the bill to make it speak for his constituents was logical. He caused changes in the original bill but clearly he did not feel they were enough to meet his standard. One concern was that financial breaks that were intended for moderate income families were extended to those with an income up to $400,000 a year.
Do any of us understand Rep. Golden’s political reasoning? I am reminded that he did work in Sen. Collins’ office after graduating from University of Maine at Farmington. Her rare vote in opposition to her party seems to be when her vote will make no difference to the outcome. She gets credit among the diverse voters of the Second District for being a maverick. Could Rep. Golden hope his Republican constituents remember him as a maverick voting in their favor?
My question is how will he vote once the Senate has made changes and it comes back to the House for a final vote?
Having recently become a father, surely Rep. Golden will vote for expanding access to affordable child care, extending the child tax credit, offering universal free preschool for 3- and 4-year-old children, expanding free school meals and providing help to families with children during the summer. Surely he will support investments in affordable housing for renters and homeowners, support more affordable health insurance and funds to allow older Mainers and people with disabilities to stay in their homes.
Or is he really just a bridge and road guy?