The Supreme Court's Dangerous, Blatantly Political Ruling


Last week, the Supreme Court overturned nearly half a century of precedent upon precedent in a dangerous, blatantly political ruling that will rob millions of women the fundamental right to make decisions about their own health, safety, and lives. The right to a safe, legal abortion has been reaffirmed by the Court time and time again – but this new majority has decided to overwrite longstanding precedent to impose their own personal and religious views on women across the country. This ruling goes against the wishes of the majority of Americans, and lays a terrifying groundwork for this Court to unravel many other hard-earned civil rights in the years ahead.

This decision is deeply infuriating, but it is unfortunately not a surprise. Beyond being telegraphed in the leaked decision earlier this year, this ruling firmly aligns with the clear, decades-long conservative campaign to fill our nation’s court system with ideologically-driven judges who would vote to end abortion access. This goal was made explicit by former President Donald Trump, who promised to only appoint judges who would overturn Roe. This promise, along with each nominee’s clear hostility towards a woman’s right to choose, were among the main reasons that I voted against Justices GorsuchKavanaugh, and Barrett. For all the fear-mongering about so-called ‘judicial activism’ by some conservative lawmakers, their chosen judges clearly do not hesitate to overturn precedent, override popular sentiment, and overreach beyond the Court’s historic incremental approach.  

The impacts of this ruling will reverberate in communities throughout America – but fortunately, Maine women will not be denied this basic right thanks to protections in our state constitution and the leadership of Governor Mills. However, this does not change the fact that far too many across the country will not be so lucky, and will be penalized for the crime of living in the wrong state. This decision will make healthcare services more difficult to access for millions, and the lives of low-income Americans who cannot afford to travel to a state where abortion is legal will be unnecessarily put at risk. Let me be clear, this decision will not lead to the banning of abortion, no matter how earnestly its opponents and the majority of this court may desire it. What it will do is facilitate the banning of safe abortions, to the detriment of women in all corners of our country.

While there is no clear or easy path to reverse this decision, I will continue doing everything in my power to protect this fundamental right. I will pursue any possible compromise and will not rest until women across the nation can once again make this personal decision with the input of loved ones and medical professionals – not the government.

Addressing Tragic, Senseless Gun Violence


This has been a month of ups and downs in Washington – on the same day the Supreme Court took its massive step backward by overruling Roe, Congress took long-overdue steps to address the gun violence plaguing our nation.

For too long, communities across our country have felt the devastation and heartbreak of America’s gun violence epidemic – with each mass shooting and senseless act of violence leaving Americans to wonder if they or their loved ones will be next. This cannot continue: our schools cannot be battlegrounds; our streets cannot be war zones.

Passed on an overwhelming bipartisan basis, and signed into law by President Biden, the Safer Communities Act is an important compromise that will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and those who would do harm, while respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Along with supporting “red flag” laws, strengthening penalties for illegal gun sales, and protecting victims of domestic violence, our carefully crafted legislation includes significant resources to address the mental health crisis that contributes to so many of these attacks. 

These are all important legislative steps – especially the red flag provision, which was inspired by previous bipartisan legislation I introduced with Senators Reed (D-R.I.), Rubio (R-FL), and Scott (R-FL).  

Now, let’s be clear – this is not a perfect bill, and it’s not the bill I would have designed. Politics is the art of the possible and this is the best possible bill that we can pass at this moment in time. Despite any shortcomings, the bill makes important progress and successfully jump-started negotiations after a nearly thirty-year impasse on this critical subject. I believe that this bill is the start – not the end – of this conversation, and I will continue engaging with my colleagues on additional bipartisan steps to confront gun violence. 

I was proud to cosponsor this commonsense measure – which I believe can help prevent the all-too-frequent nightmares repeating across the country – and remain committed to continued efforts to end our gun violence epidemic.  

Investing in America's National Defense and Maine Communities


Each year, Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – legislation that addresses the pressing security challenges facing our country and strengthens Maine’s role in contributing to our national defense. Passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, this year’s NDAA – named after my friend and colleague Senator Jim Inhofe – is no exception. 

First, the bill authorizes a multi-year contract for up to fifteen DDG-51s that Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. This would be one of the largest-ever contracts for the destroyer program, and provides BIW the certainty to make long-term investments to grow their workforce and increase their production capacity in years to come. These ships – known as the workhorse of the Navy – are absolutely critical to our national security, and are an important economic driver for Maine communities. I've long stressed the importance of multi-year agreements to our state, taxpayers, and national defense, and I'm glad we were able to advance this smart policy in this year's bill. 

As with every NDAA, the legislation also includes key provisions to ensure our nation can counter growing and evolving threats, including new authorizations to address Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and support the brave Ukrainians fighting for their sovereignty. This bill improves America’s hypersonic missile capabilities to keep up with rival nations, bolsters key cyberdefenses, and will help modernize how we assess the motivations of our enemies and allies alike. 

Most importantly, the legislation also makes significant investments in the essential core of our Armed Forces – our dedicated servicemembers in uniform. Along with a 4.6% pay raise to help servicemembers keep up with rising costs of living, the NDAA will direct the Pentagon study the suicide epidemic in our military so the Department is better equipped to address this urgent crisis. The idea for this study came from Maine veteran and advocate Chris McGhee, who suggested how the Pentagon could better identify trends in servicemember suicide during one of my Veterans History Project interviews. I'm immensely grateful for Chris' advocacy on this issue, and look forward to seeing the impact this report will have.

All told, the Committee has produced an important, strong, bipartisan bill, and I look forward to helping it move through the Congress. You can read more about the important provisions in the bill, and what it will mean for Maine and our national security HERE.

Meeting Our Promise to America's Veterans


Supporting our veterans after their active service is among America’s most solemn commitments, but unfortunately, it’s one we have not always met. Thousands of America’s men and women in uniform who were exposed to toxic substances in the line of duty are fighting a personal battle against lifelong health issues connected to their service.

Finally, after years of work and advocacy by veterans groups, the Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive, bipartisan legislation this month that will fix this oversight and provide veterans exposed to hazards their earned healthcare and benefits. The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 will expand VA benefits eligibility to support veterans exposed to toxic hazards such as burn pits and Agent Orange – meeting the present and future needs of America’s heroes. 

It doesn't fix all the challenges facing America's veterans, but the PACT Act will bring us closer to meeting the moral obligation we have to our heroes by providing the benefits, support, and healthcare these men and women deserve. The Senate's overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the bill this month is a testament to the importance of this effort, and of America’s enduring promise to our servicemembers – the House must pass it without further delay.

Extending Free Lunch Programs for Students


Across Maine and the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of school meals for America's working families. As parents during the pandemic have sometimes struggled to make ends meet, schools have done a tremendous job supporting the nutritional needs of students, helping to alleviate hunger, and allowing students to focus on their studies.

As we emerge from this public health crisis, it is crucial that children are able to continue enjoying nutritious meals during the summer months, and have certainty those meals will be there when the school year begins. That's why I'm thrilled President Biden signed the Keep Kids Fed Act into law this month. The bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate unanimously, will extend critical meal waivers for schools and meal programs to provide children free healthy meals this summer and into the school year. The new law is a compromise based on previous legislation that I introduced with a bipartisan group of Senators in March.

As they work to support their students, many schools in Maine and across the country are also short-staffed and struggling to manage the added burdens of inflation and supply chain disruptions. This legislation will help address these challenges by cutting red tape and giving our schools and other meal programs the flexibility they need to continue to serve all students.

This is a big step towards keeping Maine's students healthy, happy, and on the path to academic achievement. I had called on Congressional leadership to pass this bill earlier this month, and I'm glad we were able to put aside partisan differences to get it done. 

Supporting Brave Wildland Firefighters


As climate change increases the frequency and size of wildfires, firefighters are doing dangerous and complex work across America's West to saves lives and protect communities.

This vital work and inherent danger is why Congress included significant pay raises for our wildland firefighters in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Unfortunately, as of just a few weeks ago, when the nation began to enter fire season, these brave men and women had still not received the wages they were promised. With inflation on the rise, and many firefighters struggling just to make ends meet despite risking their lives to protect our communities, this month-long delay was unacceptable.

When Forest Service Chief Randy Moore testified in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this month, I pressed him on the delay, and stressed how it was unfair to firefighters and unfair to the people who are victims to these fires. Shortly after, I joined some my Senate colleagues in a letter to the Office of Personnel and Management where we highlighted how crucial the raises are for successfully fighting fires, and urged them to cut through bureaucratic hurdles to deliver the funds Congress long-ago appropriated.

Just days after this push, President Biden announced that wildland firefighters would finally receive their well-deserved raise, and that a majority of federal wildland firefighters will receive supplemental pay equivalent to a $20,000 base salary increase, retroactive to October 2021. The raises will be crucial for firefighter recruitment, retention, and morale, and are an acknowledgement of the commitment they show day-in and day-out. 

While this doesn’t solve all the issues facing these brave men and women, I’m happy the administration heard our calls and look forward to seeing how this supports the firefighters keeping our communities safe.

Seeing the First-Hand Impacts of Congressionally Directed Spending


Last year, Congress restored the practice of Congressionally Directed Spending that allows Members of Congress, rather than unelected government employees, to direct funding to a state, locality, or non-profit group for projects that demonstrate civic and community value. I was proud to help secure ninety-three 2022 CDS investments totaling $137,252,598 to support Maine people, organizations, and communities.

One of the organizations receiving this support was the Bath Area Family YMCA, which will be using $1,456,000 in Congressionally-Directed Spending (CDS) to help build a new childcare center for the Bath community. Earlier this month, I was thrilled to visit with teachers and students at the Y to see the work they’re already doing to support Midcoast families, and how they’ll put these new funds to work.

The Bath YMCA is more than just a place where children come to spend their time – it’s a community hub that sets Maine youth up for a lifetime of learning and success. One of the most important services they provide is affordable, reliable childcare. It's crucial to our communities -- without it, parents are forced out of the workforce, and businesses miss out on talented employees.

Their current childcare program occupies three classrooms within their building and has already hit max capacity and faces extensive waitlists. With this new government funding, they'll be able to build an entirely new childcare center that will open up new slots for families and help them provide even better services than before. It will be a big deal for the Midcoast and help address the serious shortage of care facing Maine parents. I greatly enjoyed the chance to see the impact of this CDS funding and to learn more about the incredible work the Bath YMCA is doing. 

There’s dozens of similar success stories that we were able to accomplish for last year’s spending bill. You can find the CDS investments coming to your communities with our new interactive map. Check it out HERE.

June Policy Update


As a reminder, you can read more on my regularly updated press release page at Here are some other priorities I’ve been working on:

  • Supporting the hiring of military spouses. I'm cosponsoring the bipartisan Military Spouse Hiring Act to incentivize small businesses to hire military spouses by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program to include those married to servicemembers. Read more HERE
  • Investing in Maine's forests. Maine will be receiving $16,035,000 as a result of the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to conserve two large swaths of forest and improve outdoor recreation. Read more HERE
  • Expanding civics education nationwide. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and I cosponsored bipartisan legislation to improve access to civic education with a $1 billion investment across K-12 and higher education to counter decades of cuts to instruction on America’s founding principles. Read more HERE.
  • Strengthening Maine wastewater infrastructure. Maine will be receiving $11,273,000 through low-interest loans and grants for two water and wastewater infrastructure projects. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Water and Waste Disposal Program. Read more HERE.
  • Electrifying our non-tactical military fleet. I introduced the Military Vehicle Fleet Electrification Act to help reduce carbon emissions by transitioning the non-tactical fleet of the Department of Defense (DoD) to electric or other zero-emission vehicles. Read more HERE.

In The News


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