With 2013's 16-day government shutdown in the rearview mirror, one Republican revealed Thursday how surprised he was to see things go that far.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) expressed worries that this week's deal to open the federal government and raise the debt ceiling is only temporary. Speaking with WCSH-TV/WLBZ-TV, LePage said he did not think officials in Washington would "take it to this extreme."
"It is the leadership in the House, the leadership in the Senate, and the leadership in the White House," LePage said. "They are all equally at blame. There's no monopoly on stupidity."
In the midst of the shutdown, LePage did not hold back on his state powers, declaring a state of "civil emergency" on Oct. 9 to minimize the financial impact on Maine. According to the Bangor Daily News, the governor's staff said his goal was to prevent state employees from losing their jobs.
"The State of Maine simply cannot fill the financial gap created by the prolonged loss of federal dollars," said LePage in a statement obtained by the Daily News. "It would be unlawful for the State to ask our federally funded employees to continue to work without having the authority to pay them.”
According to the Portland Press Herald, that move led to immediate criticism, headed by Democratic leaders who were confused by the action. Attorney General Janet Mills led the charge, calling the move "a diversionary tactic."
“I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” she told the paper. “He can put anything he wants down on paper. I’m not sure what powers he’s creating or trying to exercise.”
The AP reported Friday morning that all Maine state employees who faced furloughs or displacements during the shutdown were back to work as normal.