Meeting America's Commitment to Veterans


From Valley Forge to Gettysburg to Fallujah, America’s veterans served, sacrificed, and fought for our freedoms and values – because freedom isn’t free. We owe our way of life to these brave men and women and share a collective responsibility as a nation to serve our veterans. That means delivering stronger benefits, addressing the tragic veterans’ suicide crisis, improving transition assistance programs, and ensuring every veteran can access essential services like affordable housing and behavioral healthcare.

It was a true honor this month to join the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to help address the challenges facing veterans in Maine and across the country. This month, my first order of business was a listening session at the American Legion in Brunswick to hear directly from Maine veterans about some of the issues they face. They made it clear that we need improved oversight of existing benefits, more support for the transition back to civilian life, and further work to address the crisis of veteran suicide.

I took those concerns straight back to Congress and sat down with Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) on my Inside Maine Podcast to discuss the Committee's upcoming priorities for the 118th Congress. I also held meetings with VA Secretary Dennis McDonough and other officials to ensure that the needs of Maine veterans are prioritized here in Washington.

We’ve made a lot of progress for our veterans over the last few years – including by passing the PACT Act to support servicemembers exposed to burn pits – but there is more work to be done and I’m excited to get started. In fact, just last week we passed the Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act and the VA CAREERS Act out of committee. 

The Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act would create a pilot program to reduce veteran suicides by expanding counseling and support resources available during the transition out of service. Additionally, the VA CAREERS Act would expand resources for veteran healthcare centers, like Togus, to hire and retain more staff to treat veterans. 

They're both important efforts to provide better support and services for the brave men and women who served. I'm glad we're already making good progress on the Committee, and I look forward to the continued work that lies ahead. Maine’s veterans answered the call for our country, now it’s time for us to be there for them.

A Reminder of America's Strength and Common Values


President Biden's 'State of the Union' address this month was a powerful reminder of what America can accomplish when we fight together for common values rather than against one another. 

Despite historic challenges, Congress and Maine people have united in pursuit of a brighter future. The past two years have seen historic accomplishments – most of them bipartisan – that have stabilized the country as we came out of difficult times. 

President Harry Truman once said ‘it’s remarkable what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.’ That’s why I appreciate President Biden’s continued support for bipartisan efforts to build on the successes of these past two years. 

While there will be difficulties ahead, time has shown that there is no challenge too great for a united America. I’m confident that the President is right; the future is bright, and the State of the Union is strong.

One Year of Ukraine’s Unbreakable Will


When Vladimir Putin launched his bloody, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, his plan was to quickly conquer the sovereign country, rebuild the Soviet Union, and divide the Free World. On every count, he has failed. 

A year later, thanks to the unbreakable will of the Ukrainian people, Ukraine remains free and the West is more united than ever. While battle lines have shifted, our task today is the same as it was on that very first day of war: we must ensure democracy triumphs over dictatorship. We cannot afford to falter in our resolve. As President Biden said in Kyiv last week, ‘freedom is priceless; it’s worth fighting for as long as it takes’.

Protecting Americans from Foreign Spying


Social media platforms, from Facebook and Instagram to TikTok, have become essential parts of our professional and personal lives. With millions of Americans depending on these networks, we need to make sure adversarial governments can't use social media to violate our personal privacy and security. 

This is why TikTok concerns me and should concern all of us. Currently, every ‘private’ company located in China like TikTok has direct ties and on-demand information-sharing requirements with the national government. This creates real potential for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to access user data, exploit information, or push dangerous falsehoods. 

That's an unacceptable national security risk and social media platforms like TikTok must either divest from dangerous foreign ownership, or Congress will take the necessary steps to protect Americans.

That's why this month I introduced bipartisan legislation to ban social media platforms if they are owned, wholly or in part, by adversarial foreign regimes. The Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act would protect Americans from foreign spying by blocking these dangerous social media companies unless they fully separate from adversarial foreign governments.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to address this threat. Hopefully, these efforts will spur TikTok to leave China so that Americans can continue using the platform to keep in touch with loved ones, stay up to date on news, or run their small business.

Improving Access to America's Great Outdoors


From the coasts of Acadia to the mountains of Yellowstone, public lands have given generations of Americans an opportunity to experience our country’s unparalleled natural beauty. This month, I introduced several pieces of legislation to ensure Maine people can continue enjoying our public lands for generations to come.

The Gateway Community and Recreation Enhancement Act would address national park overcrowding and boost awareness of lesser-visited recreation areas. It would also create a program similar to the Waze app or other traffic navigation software that can inform potential visitors, in real-time, of crowd levels at public lands and provide suggestions for alternative recreation destinations. This is a commonsense measure to improve sustainability, strengthen visitor experiences, and support rural economies across our country. 

I also introduced the bipartisan Outdoors for All Act. The bipartisan bill codifies the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program in federal law and ensures that funding will go to communities without adequate access to local parks. As our cities grow and the effects of climate change intensify, this bill would allow for equitable access to the benefits of local parks—from job creation, to shade and tree cover, to clean air.

With the help of Senator Susan Collins, we also secured nearly $33 million for a new maintenance complex at Acadia National Park. This funding will make significant improvements to park infrastructure, helping National Park Service employees tackle maintenance projects that are necessary to protect Acadia.

These bills will make a major difference across Maine communities while helping more people enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors. I look forward to the continued work of protecting America's greatest treasures.

Now Open: Applications for Congressional Investments


This week, we opened the application portal for Fiscal Year 2024 Congressionally-Directed Spending (CDS). This is an opportunity that allows Maine governments and nonprofits to apply for consideration to receive direct federal funding for eligible projects that will have significant and measurable benefits across the state.

Authorized in 2021 on a bipartisan basis, CDS funding is included in annual federal appropriations legislation at the request of one or more Members of Congress and provides a specific amount of discretionary funding to a state, locality, or nonprofit organization for projects with demonstrable civic and community value. The FY2024 CDS portal can be found HERE – the current deadline for CDS submissions is 5:00pm, Friday, March 17, 2023.

Making Government Work for the People


The American people sent their Members of Congress to Washington to work for them – and when we allow partisan bickering to shut down the government, we aren’t doing that job. When Washington’s dysfunction repeatedly hurts hardworking Maine people, it’s clear that something needs to change.

We’ve seen the ripple effects of government shutdowns too many times: families left struggling, local small businesses seeing stark declines in their traffic, and Americans scrambling to receive the federal services they rely on. That's why, this month I joined a group of bipartisan colleagues to introduce The Prevent Government Shutdowns Act of 2023. The bill would prevent these self-inflicted crises and make government shutdowns a thing of the past. 

This is just plain commonsense, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will continue to support this bill to make sure your government is working for you. 

February 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

  • Helping Asylum Seekers Obtain Jobs More Quickly. Senator Collins, Congresswomen Pingree and I introduced the bipartisan Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act of 2023 to shorten the waiting period before asylum seekers are allowed to receive work authorizations. Read more HERE.
  • Protecting Access to Medication Abortions. I introduced the Protecting Access to Medication Abortion Act which would codify into law current FDA guidelines that allow patients to access the medications through certified pharmacies, telehealth visits, and mail-order pharmacies. Read more HERE.
  • Investing in Maine Public Transit. Maine is receiving $48,433,356 in funds for public transit from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The funds will support local public transit systems across Maine including urban and rural bus transit systems, the Downeaster, and passenger ferry services. Read more HERE.
  • Helping Maine People Access High-Quality Job Training. Senator Collins and I have introduced the Jumpstarting Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act to help close skill gaps, address workforce shortages, and provide workers with the specialized training and credentials they need for careers in high-demand fields. Read more HERE.
  • Removing Politics from the Federal Workforce. I joined a group of my colleagues to introduce the Saving the Civil Service Act that will secure the jobs of non-political federal employees and protect tens of thousands of dedicated workers from losing job protections and due process rights. Read more HERE.

In The News


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