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Political Brew: Insurrection at the Capitol, investigating the election, and a new budget proposal

This week, our analysts are former state senator Republican Phil Harriman, and longtime Democratic activist and lobbyist Betsy Sweet.

MAINE, USA — Last Wednesday, Americans were stunned when a rally turned into a riot in Washington as many of the people who gathered to support President Trump's efforts to overturn the election results stormed the U.S. Capitol.

It happened as Congress got down to the business of certifying the Electoral College votes and confirming that Joe Biden will be the next president.

Betsy Sweet said this is Donald Trump's true legacy now.

"It's been building for four years. For all of this time, establishment Republicans have given him a pass," Sweet said. "This is a pivot point when political leaders have to decide, 'Are we going to continue down this path? It's going to end in disaster. Or are we going to pivot and get back to governing for the people?"

Phil Harriman agreed, saying, "I don't know of a more heartbreaking time in my life ... This is an opportunity for us all to recognize that there's a big disconnect between the elite politicians and 'we people.'"

Trump supporters in Congress tried to postpone certifying the Electoral College until a new probe of the presidential election could be conducted.

Harriman said that the Biden administration should conduct such an investigation.

"I think we have to make a non-political effort to ensure that how we run our election going forward is beyond reproach," he said. "Today, whether you like it or not, there are people who doubt that our system is free and fair and beyond reproach. We need to fix that. It's the most important thing we do as citizens."

Sweet said we already have those answers.

"To me, that is disrespectful to all of the secretaries of state around the country. They take election security very seriously. There were 64 lawsuits brought by Trump. And every single one of them was deemed baseless. I think it's a distraction. I think we need to move beyond this and get to governing."

On Friday, Gov. Janet Mills unveiled details of two budget proposals. One is a supplemental budget for the remainder of this fiscal year, the other a two-year budget beginning in FY 2022.

The governor says both budgets will be balanced as required by law, and that taxes will not increase to pay for them.

Harriman applauds the governor's efforts and said, "She's making tough choices by reducing government expenditures. Hopefully, the money from Washington comes in and the rebound of the economy comes into play to keep the budget balanced. But I compliment her for not seeking to raise taxes."

But Sweet said many Mainers are suffering, and they need help.

"I agree with looking at efficiencies and cost-cutting, but we have tax cuts sitting out there" enacted by former Gov. Paul LePage, Sweet said.

Sweet said those tax cuts are "sending a lot of money to people who haven't been affected by this pandemic, and I think that's going to have to be on the table before we get to the end of this."

Harriman said any tax hike proposal will be a hard sell.

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Weekend Morning Report.