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Political Brew: A billion-dollar recovery plan, vetting vanity plates, and the Senate vs. Joe Biden

This week our Political Brew analysts are former Republican state senator Phil Harriman, and attorney and radio talk host, Democrat Ken Altshuler.

MAINE, USA — Gov. Janet Mills has unveiled a $1.13 billion "Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan." It uses federal money to address economic recovery from the pandemic and boost future growth and revitalizing infrastructure.

Ken Altshuler says he loves the plan. "The bulk of what she's proposing is all economically focused, which is what Republicans should like to hear."

Phil Harriman calls it a "spending spree with borrowed money," but says the politics are great for Gov. Mills because "she's going to be able to deploy all of this money out of Washington that's not going to be accounted for years to come."

Harriman also hopes that Republicans will be included in shaping the supplemental budget after Democrats passed the biennial budget on a strict party-line vote. For example, the GOP has proposed increasing municipal revenue sharing from 3.75% to 5%.

Altshuler thinks that is a good strategy by Republicans because "they're going to be heard and they're going to be brought into the fold."

Maine is revisiting the decision not to vet vanity license plate requests. The bills being considered by lawmakers would reestablish a review process, allow the Secretary of State to reject vulgar license plates, and permit the recall of offensive license plates that already have been issued.

Both of our analysts oppose the bills, citing free speech issues.

Altshuler says "When you can put a bumper sticker right next to a license plate, what's the use of censoring the license plate?
If I want to put something profane on my license plate, I have a right to do it."

And Harriman believes if there's a problem with vulgar messages being sanctioned by the state, "the Secretary of State could decide to just issue a license plate with numbers."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that he is 100% focused on stopping the Biden administration.
McConnell said "What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country."

Harriman thinks Sen. Collins was probably not happy to be included in that sound bite.
But he feels the bigger issue is that it is the job of the minority party is to "challenge and debate and force these conversations so that the majority doesn't tyrannize the minority."

But to Altshuler, what McConnell is up to is nothing but politics.

"Mitch McConnell should be ashamed of himself. He's an obstructionist. He'll do anything he can to derail things."

And Altshuler adds that this is why Democrats must use their slim majority to get things done, saying "do whatever you can now; you won't have a chance in the future."

Our analysts also discuss the push for statehood for Washington, DC, and the efforts by Republicans in Maine and Washington to punish Sen. Collins and Rep. Liz Cheney for their refusal to support former President Trump's continued unfounded claims about a stolen election.

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Weekend Morning Report.