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Susan Collins

A Masterful Compromise on Contraception

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the compromise that Obama announced yesterday on religious-affiliated non-profits and birth control. You can read the full details here.

In particular, it hits dead center on the (not-very-convincing) aguments Snowe and Collins used when they recently reversed themselves on the issue, which I outlined at Down East. It's hard to see a rhetorically-consistent way for them to fail to support his plan.

Maine Delegation Split Over Wall Street Regulation

This week in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel I write about two letters. One was signed by 44 Republican Senators, including Snowe and Collins, in which they threaten to hold hostage any attempt to appoint a head of the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency itself is weakened. The other is signed by a number on House Democrats, including Congresswoman Pingree, urging President Obama to respond to the threat by appointing populist consumer champion and financial regulation expert Elizabeth Warren through a recess appointment.

You can read the Senate letter here and the House letter here.

While I wasn't able to reach Congressman Mike Michaud before deadline, his office later sent word that while he hasn't signed the letter, he doesn't support weakening the CFPB.

"He believes the Senate should act expeditiously to confirm someone for the position so that the law Congress passed, and the American people overwhelmingly supported, can be fully implemented," said Michaud spokesman Ed Gilman by email.

Facts and Questions About Collins' New House

It's worth stressing upfront: I have no grounds to believe there's anything improper or untoward about Sen. Collins' recent Washington house purchase.

That said, none of the public discussion so far has addressed--let alone answered--the very salient, public interest-minded questions that the purchase raises.

Since no one seems particularly inclined to put these questions to the junior senator, what follows is an attempt to get a handful of relevant facts on the table and draw attention to some of those outstanding questions: Read more »

Snowe, Collins Vote for Cloture on Jobs Bill

Senators Snowe and Collins joined fellow Republican Senators Kit Bond, George Voinovich and newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown in breaking with their party to vote down a filibuster.

Chicks from Maine

Kerri Houston Toloczko, policy director of Conservatives for Patients Rights, discussing the health care reform positions of Senators Snowe and Collins in this month's Politics Magazine:

Oh yeah, we expect the chicks from Maine to go off the reservation on everything.

Rumors and Innuendo

From a Huffington Post preview of Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer's new tell-all book:

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is fond of sending angry, middle-of-the-night e-mails to staffers because she's frustrated that her colleague and rival Olympia Snowe gets more and better press. As a result, reports Latimer, she rips through press secretaries like 30-packs at a beer-pong tournament. (A Collins press secretary didn't respond to a request for comment.)

State Secrets

A source close to the issue has explained why the post on Qadhafi was temporarily deleted from Senator Susan Collins' blog. Apparently, the original wording in the post about Qadhafi's location caused some concern at the State Department.

Deleting a Meeting

Update: the post is now back up.

In an interesting follow-up to my post on Senator Collins' Middle-East blogging, it appears the senator's staff has deleted the blog entry describing her meeting with Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

The full text of the post, reprinted below, is currently still available via google's cache.

The lead-up to our meeting with Colonel Qadhafi was bizarre indeed. Initially we were scheduled to meet with him at 4 p.m. Then the meeting was changed to 6, at which time we received word that it would be 7:30 because the Colonel was fasting in preparation for Ramadan. That time came and went, and we told 9 p.m. Finally at the point that we were close to complete exasperation, we were whisked off at 9:40 p.m. in a convey for a 40-minute drive to a secret location on the outskirts of Tripoli. There an enormous tent had been erected for our meetings, first with Qadhafi's son, who is the national security advisor, and then with Qadhafi himself. The tent was air-conditioned and outfitted with lavish carpets, couches, and coffee tables. Apparently, Qadhafi is on the move constantly and rarely spends two nights in the same place.

We discussed a host of issues. I focused my comments on the need for Libya to proceed with an agreement to transfer highly enriched uranium from his nuclear program.

Collins and Qadhafi

Senator Susan Collins is again blogging about her foreign travels, although this time she's a bit farther away than Canada. Collins and a group of other senators from the Armed Services Committee are currently visiting several countries in the middle east.

Collins' first two entries are about meeting Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi. Collins describes Libya's human rights record as "appalling" and says that in her meeting with the Qadhafi, she says she focused mainly on pressuring the strongman to procede with an agreement he made with the US, Russia and the IAEA to give up his country's supply of highly enriched uranium.

Today, Collins is visiting Iraq.

Collins also popped up in another part of the social mediascape earlier this week, when she participated in a "viditorial" with Sun Journal opinions editor Tony Ronzio. In the clip she says she supports necessary health insurance regulations, including guaranteed issue, but that these must be balanced against insurance company profitability and competitiveness.

Collins' Staff Tweets Back

Senator Collins' Special Assistant, Bobby Reynolds, goes head to (shiny) head with Lewiston Sun Journal Opinions Editor Tony Ronzio over the "Cash for Clunkers" bill: