One of the most useless members of the United States Senate is Senator Susan Collins of Maine. In addition to having minimal consequential legislative impact in her three-plus terms in the Senate, she has repeatedly shown disdain for her own constituents with the way she votes. She votes with the Democrats on every close issue she can, and has proven she's beholden to her donors and special interests, and not the people of Maine that she represents. It is time for her to go.
The lack of legislative accomplishment that Senator Collins has - despite over twenty years in the Senate - is nothing short of remarkable. She has introduced no major legislation, and only served as a regular committee chair once. In recent years, the only consequential impact that she has had has been to oppose Republican efforts in the Senate.
In 2013, there was a piece of gun control legislation introduced, commonly known as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. Under this proposal, federal background checks on gun transfers would be greatly expanded. Collins was one of four Republicans to oppose the measure, which thankfully did not gain the 60 votes needed to prevent a Senate filibuster. This garnered her much praise in statewide and national media, but not much praise from her constituents. Just three years later, perhaps inspired by her vote, many out-of-state groups were able to get a measure on the Maine ballot that would have enacted similar restrictions at the state level. Despite much more monetary support - once again, mainly from out-of-state - the measure failed. Collins' hometown of Caribou voted down the measure by a 58%-42% margin.
In 2017, President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education. Secretary DeVos has supported magnet schools, and Senator Collins spoke at the graduation of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, a magnet school, in 2008. According to U.S. News and World Report's 2017 rankings, the school is ranked highest in the state of Maine. Only one other school in Maine ranks in the top five hundred.
One would think that MSSM is a great resource to have in the state, and that the magnet school model is working for high school students in Maine. In fact, Senator Collins tweeted her congratulations to the school on its high ranking:
It's no secret that DeVos was a controversial nominee, requiring Vice President Pence to be the tiebreaking vote. However, nearly all of President Trump's cabinet nominees were opposed almost unanimously by the Democrats, requiring a solid Republican caucus to ensure their confirmation. Why Collins did this is unclear, but she has received campaign contributions from teachers' unions in the past. One would hope that she would realize that the magnet school model, which has produced a great high school in her state, could be beneficial for the rest of the nation as well. Apparently, this was not as good as national praise for her from the media and her Democrat friends in the Senate.
Also in 2017, Senator Collins was one of the few Republicans to oppose a straight repeal of Obamacare. She was surprisingly against the measure when it was originally introduced and passed in 2009-2010. As a result of this legislation, healthcare premiums increased an average of 15% in 2017 alone in the state of Maine. Premiums are increasing every year as a direct result of the legislation that Collins opposed in 2009-2010. She must have had a change of heart, or perhaps national praise for "resisting Trump" is more important to her than affordable healthcare for her constituents. She even opposed a motion to debate healthcare, joining the entire Democratic caucus in opposition. It is sad that she is prioritizing positive media coverage instead of even a simple debate on ways to improve healthcare for her constituents.
When Senator Collins first ran for the Senate in 1996, she pledged that she would only serve her fourth term. Now over two years into her fourth term, it is cleary time for her to go. Maine deserves better. She has figured out that if she does nothing, she will attract positive media coverage in her home state, and that by doing nothing, there won't be much for people to oppose her on. It's no secret that the Democrats don't even target her seat. They know that she's just as good for their agenda as Hillary Clinton would be.