Today, Governor Paul LePage released the following statement regarding Representative Chellie Pingree's attempt to attract media attention in light of the USDA flip-flopped decision regarding overpayments provided to Mainers through the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
"This is political posturing at its worst. Representative Pingree is, once again, using her intimate ties with the Maine Today Media to lie to Maine people. The error in question has no connection whatsoever to system malfunctions, and Pingree is siding with the Federal Government which has decided that during the height of the election campaign it will penalize Maine.
Clearly, Representative Pingree has a history of empowering the heavy hand of the Federal Government over the people of Maine. I will not support Pingree's demand that Maine taxpayers pay for this. She is out of line and so is the Federal Government. If the feds have an issue about how the State administers their federal program, they are welcome to take back the administration of their program."
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew continued on Friday to point out that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often referred to as food stamp assistance, is a program between the Federal Government and the recipient, and that DHHS' role is strictly administrative. The State is consistently awarded performance bonuses from the USDA for its accuracy rate, access to the program and participation levels. The State suggests, instead of placing the burden of repayment on the Maine taxpayer any decision to lessen the financial impact on the recipient should be made using federal dollars.
The State of Maine will appeal the USDA decision in the coming days.