At the Maine GOP we plan on providing you with a periodic update of key articles and opinions from around the state on topics that matter to you.
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Top Maine and National News
Washington adopts welfare reform long supported by Maine Republicans
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new guideline that will allow states to implement work requirements for Medicaid benefits to working-age, able-bodied adults.
This reform is along the lines of reforms advocated for and implemented by Maine Republicans for years, including by Governor LePage, Congressman Poliquin, and Republicans in both the Maine Senate and House.
Upon announcement of this important welfare reform, Maine GOP Chair Dr. Demi Kouzounas had this to say:
Once again, Maine has led as Governor LePage's reforms requiring work for welfare have now become national policy. I am so pleased Washington is actually doing something right here, adopting the vision of our Governor...
As Congressman Poliquin said today, the goal of welfare should not be to make people helpless and dependent, but rather to "give individuals the opportunities they need to succeed and become self-supporting and independent."
Congressman Poliquin's statement can be read here.
Senator Volk continues fight against human trafficking
On Wednesday, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Amy Volk (R-Cumberland) hosted the 4th Annual Human Trafficking Day at the State House to raise awareness of human trafficking and exploitation globally and in, yes, Maine.
Senator Volk had this to say:
While many people assume that human trafficking occurs mostly in large cities and foreign countries, the truth of the matter is that it’s happening right here within our communities in Maine...
During my time in Augusta, arrests have been made in my suburban district and I have met a number of survivors, some as young as my own children, others older than I am. It’s heartbreaking, but by working together and recognizing the warning signs, we can identify more victims, curb demand and bring abusers to justice.
It is sad that inhumane crimes like these have spread even to Maine, but we are grateful to Senator Volk and others for fighting back. With your help, we know Senator Volk and her bipartisan allies in this battle can prevail.
NATIONAL DAY OF TRAINING ON JANUARY 20TH
On January 20th, in celebration of President Trump’s first full year in office, the Maine GOP will be holding a National Day of Training and 2018 campaign kick-off events.
Will you join us for the January 20th National Day of Training? This program is excellent, and becoming a part of it will truly make a difference. And, feel free to bring a friend or two with you!
Walmart Boosts Worker Wages after President Trump's Tax Cuts
Yesterday, USA Today published the following article about how Walmart (one of Maine's biggest employers) is now increasing its minimum wage and giving bonuses of up to $1,000 for its hourly workers because of the Republican tax cuts strongly supported and influenced by Senator Collins and Congressman Poliquin.
From USA Today:
Walmart is boosting the minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11 and dishing out bonuses of up to $1,000, crediting President Trump's tax cut for enabling the move... The big-box store chain, which has more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees, will reap a windfall from the U.S. corporate tax rate cut from 35% to 21%...
The company is also boosting its paid maternity leave policy for full-time hourly workers to 10 weeks at full pay. Previously, birthing mothers got six to eight weeks at half pay... Walmart is also increasing its paid leave policy for new fathers and non-birthing mothers to six weeks at full pay for full-time hourly workers. Previously, the company didn't offer any paid leave for them...
The changes in parental leave put salaried and hourly workers on the same footing... Walmart also said it would offer financial help to full-time hourly and salaried employees who are seeking to adopt children.
In making this positive move, Walmart has joined numerous other companies such as AT&T, AccuWeather, Aflac, American Airlines, Bank of America, Boeing, Comcast, Comerica Bank, Nationwide Insurance, Southwest Airlines, and many others who are increasing their workers' pay as a result of the Republican tax cuts. Just today, Chrysler joined the movement!
This week, the Washington Examinerpublished a piece outlining some of the economic successes last year for working Americans. It noted the unemployment rate for workers who have graduated from high school but don’t have a college degree dropped from 5.1 percent in December 2016 to 4.2 percent in December 2017, and the monthly average unemployment rate, 4.6 percent, is the best it’s been since 2007.
It also pointed out that the average number of Americans 16 years or older working part-time because they couldn't find full-time has dropped by 600,000 in the past year. That means more Americans who had been forced to work part-time are finding higher-paying, full-time employment. Good news!!