AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The commissioner of the Department of Health and Human services went before the Appropriations Committee Sunday to discuss a letter she sent to Governor LePage.
The letter states that the department will run out of money on June 10th if a budget is not passed by May 28th.
Governor LePage sent a letter that same day to democratic leaders in the legislature, accusing the party of using strong-arm tactics that have delayed the budget process.
The Appropriations Committee questioned Commissioner Mayhew about the letters to try to come to some kind of resolution and ensure DHHS can fund its programs. Republicans on the committee expressed their gratitude to Mayhew for making the fast-approaching deadline clear.
"I appreciate the fact that you sent a letter saying, 'Hey time's coming up,'" Rep. Dennis Keschl said. "I appreciate that, so unless I'm mistaken and you can correct me if I'm mistaken, this isn't news, that you're going to need more money."
Democrats say while the committee has been aware of the financial struggles at DHHS, a date was never specified.
"If we were going to be running out of money in two weeks we should have been notified about this date a long time ago," Rep. Peggy Rotundo said. "And that's very concerning to me, and again I can't ever remember a situation where we had been notified on such a late date, 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, it didn't even come to the chairs. It's highly irregular and very troubling to me."
As the committee began to wrap up its questions, Governor Paul LePage asked to address the committee. Committee chair Sen. Dawn Hill told the Governor that she wanted to end the discussion on a high note, and asked him to meet with committee members to discuss the issue outside of Appropriations. The governor told the committee, that's not going to happen.
"I want to get on the record and this committee is not allowing that," The governor said. "And it's unfortunate but the people of the state of maine are being played for patises. Thank you."
The Senate Republican leader sent a letter this afternoon expressing his disappointment that Governor LePage was not allowed to speak.
He said, "I hope this isn't another example of Democrats' unwillingness to work in a bipartisan manner."