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June 22, 2020

In Teleconference with Maine United Way, King Emphasizes Need to Help Working Families Amid Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) participated in a teleconference with Maine United Way leadership representatives, as part of his continuous effort to stay connected to Maine people throughout the coronavirus pandemic. During the call Senator King received updates from the United Way on the impacts of the coronavirus on Maine communities, and highlighted the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and Medicaid expansion to help working families weather the pandemic. Senator King is a cosponsor of the Working Families Tax Relief Act, legislation that would provide tax relief for working people and families by expanding these credits – benefiting 400,000 Maine people, including 164,000 children – as well as an advocate for nonprofits, which are facing unprecedented struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus has taken a toll on every community across Maine – but the pandemic and its subsequent economic fallout have caused the most damage for working families who were already facing tough times before this virus struck. As we address this crisis, we cannot let these Maine people slip through the cracks,” said Senator King. “The United Way, and other Maine nonprofit organizations, are community leaders that have made it their mission to support working families before, during, and after this pandemic. I’m grateful for their time today to discuss the path forward, and for all that they do to support Maine people.”

“We are delighted to have Senator's King's time to discuss and consider United Ways of Maine priorities for federal investments in four key areas which we think are critically important for longer-term rebuilding and recovery during COVID-19,” said Joleen Bedard, Chair of United Ways of Maine. “The priority areas include expanding and making the new non itemizer charitable deduction permanent, expanding the Earned Income tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and providing a temporary increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), the federal Medicaid matching payment to states. We believe that investing in these particular policies will aid Mainers facing health and economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Ways of Maine have seen first hand through our work how targeted investments and policies help stabilize and improve living conditions for vulnerable populations. We thank Senator King for assisting people in Maine through his support of Coronavirus Relief Legislation."

In addition to his support of the Working Families Tax Relief Act, Senator King has consistently pushed for tax fairness for low-income Maine people. In early March, Senator King sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for details on Secretary Mnuchin’s directive to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to increase tax enforcement efforts on high-income taxpayers. Senator King has strongly pushed to make sure the IRS has the resources it needs to enforce tax laws fairly for all Americans, and in a January letter to OMB highlighted data illustrating that that Americans who earn lower salaries or incomes are among the most audited individuals despite being responsible for a small percentage of unpaid taxes. 

Senator King has strongly advocated and led support for nonprofits amid the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Senator King led a bipartisan group of Senators in a letter to Senate leadership advocating for the inclusion of aid for charitable nonprofits in any upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. Charitable nonprofits have been essential partners in the fight against coronavirus and its economic effects. Senator King has also made it a priority to engage with Maine people from all walks of life and helpful organizations to address questions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and identify remaining work to be done. He recently held a tele-town hall, inviting all Maine people to call in toll-free, to listen and respond to questions about coronavirus response efforts. Since the Senate passed the CARES Act, he has participated in teleconferences and phone calls with:

·       Maine healthcare providers and advocates, such as the Maine Dental Association and Protect our Care.

·       Maine educators, including the 16 Maine 2020 County Teachers of the Year, Maine Jump$tart Coalition’s two Finance Educators of the YearMLTI Virtual Student Conference, and civics and history teachers from schools across Maine.

·       Maine business leaders, including members of the Maine State Chamber of CommerceMaine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New England Council120 of Portland’s small business owners and 500 Maine employees of Sun Life.

·       Maine nonprofits including the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP) and YMCA Youth Advocates from Maine.

·       Maine seniors in a call hosted by AARP Maine

·       Maine democracy-focused organizations, such as the Maine League of Women Voters. 

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