Thursday, September 29, 2011

Collins "Unfamiliar" With DOMA Impact

Sen. Collins, who has won plaudits and awards from several gay rights groups in recent months--and is slated to be honored by another prominent group next week--professes not to know how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is affecting gay couples:

When Metro Weekly spoke with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) about her views on the repeal of DOMA, the senator celebrated by many LGBT advocates for her prominent role in ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" said she was unfamiliar with the federal impact of DOMA on same-sex couples and with the law aimed at repealing DOMA...

Speaking with Metro Weekly at [the Sept. 20 Log Cabin Republican's dinner honoring her], Collins had no view on the bill and claimed to be unaware of the impact of Section 3 of DOMA--which defines "marriage" and "spouse" in federal law as referring only to marriages between one man and one woman.

Asked about and given a brief description of the [Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA], Collins said, "I was going to say, I'm not sure what the Respect for Marriage Act is." She then added that she would "have to look at that."

Collins then said that she hadn't "looked at" the federal limits on marriage recognition put in place by DOMA, stating that she was not aware of how Section 3 of DOMA impacts same-sex couples.

Collins's comments are particularly confusing given that she was the sole Republican Senate co-sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act in the 111th Congress, a bill to extend health insurance benefits to federal employees in same-sex relationships--legislation made necessary by Section 3 of DOMA.

Asked on Sept. 28 for follow-up information about Collins's position on DOMA and the RMA, Collins's office was unable to provide immediate comment and a spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Friday, September 23, 2011

They Write Op-Eds

Jonathan Shenkin, former president of the Maine Dental Association, on potato consumption and childrens health:

Our senators' argument, which appears to have originated with the potato industry, is that the potato is full of nutrients. In a recent press release, Snowe detailed all the healthful components of the potato, but neglected to mention its established association with obesity.

Collins claimed that the potato is much healthier than iceberg lettuce, which is low on nutrients. Iceberg lettuce, however, is not associated with weight gain and obesity.

I decided to call my medical colleagues in Maine and throughout the United States to hear their opinions about the Institute of Medicine's recommended changes in school nutrition.

Physicians were unanimous in their belief that we must moderate potato consumption among children in the country to tackle the obesity epidemic. No one I spoke with supported the senators' views...

Their political strategy, not based on scientific evidence, greatly concerns me.

Taking A "Breather"

The Center for American Progess isn't happy with Sen. Collins

On September 12, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and 20 of her colleagues introduced the Regulatory Time-Out Act, S. 1538. This bill would establish a one-year moratorium on regulations from the executive branch and independent regulatory agencies...

This moratorium would halt the implementation of rules to reduce mercury, dioxin, and other toxic chemicals from coal-fired power plants, industrial boilers, and cement manufacturing. The American Lung Association noted that allowing these sources to continue unchecked will inflict real harm on Americans, particularly children, seniors, and the sick:
These emissions can make breathing difficult and can worsen asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis and other lung diseases. These pollutants can cause heart attacks and strokes, lung cancer and other cancers, birth defects and premature death.
The American Lung Association projects that these two pollution reduction requirements would save at least 51,000 lives and prevent over half a million asthma attacks every year...

In Sen. Collins’s home state of Maine, her bill would continue the emission of at least 12,000 pounds of mercury and other toxics from Maine power plants and cement plants. At least 2.6 million pounds of airborne toxics are emitted into Maine’s skies every year—or two pounds for every Maine resident. The energy and natural resources companies have contributed over $400,000 to Sen. Collins since she was elected...

Sen. Collins’s most recent bill continues her yearlong assault on the health and safety of Mainers and other Americans. In February she targeted the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule, which would require facilities with large industrial boilers to reduce their emissions of mercury, lead, and other pollutants that harm our health. These chemicals have proven, damaging effects on the heart, lungs, and brain. By clearing the air of these toxics, the boiler MACT rule would save 2,600 to 6,600 lives per year.

Sen. Collins has also sponsored the Clearing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens Act and the EPA Regulatory Relief Act. Both acts target regulations that would reduce emission of hazardous air pollutants.

Sen. Collins says she is proposing S. 1538 in order to give U.S. companies a “sensible breather” from the regulations that suppress job creation. But this would make breathing harder for children, seniors, and the ill by prolonging emission of millions of pounds of toxic pollution.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Way back in 2008--in the middle of a re-election campaign--Sen. Collins supported raising taxes on people with annual income of more than $1 million.

Here she is this week:

Collins said she favors overhauling the tax code and hiking taxes on the extremely wealthy, perhaps people making $5 million a year or more.
Seems like something of a moving target, no?