WASHINGTON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, 1st District, blasted the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to yank Planned Parenthood funding — and she wasn’t ready to let Komen off the hook when the breast-cancer research organization reversed its stand on Friday.

Pingree signed on to a widely circulated congressional letter last week that called Komen’s decision “an alarming development resulting from political pressure from anti-women’s health organizations.”

When Komen backed down and issued a statement of apology Friday, Pingree wasn’t willing to sign on to a second version of the letter seeking lawmakers’ signatures.

“We are writing to express our heartfelt support for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s reversal of its recent decision to discontinue grant funding for breast cancer exams at Planned Parenthood health centers,” the later version stated. “It takes courage to admit and to correct a mistake. The Komen Foundation has shown that courage.”

Not so fast, Pingree says.

“Congresswoman Pingree was very disappointed with the decision by Komen to pull the funding from Planned Parenthood and while she was glad to see them reverse that decision, it doesn’t seem like it was something they should be congratulated for,” said Pingree spokesman Willy Ritch.

Senate campaign

The spotlight at the Maine GOP caucuses is on presidential politics, but Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and her U.S. Senate primary rivals also are using the caucuses to try to curry favor with party activists.

Snowe’s campaign says that Snowe and a team of volunteers are fanning out across the state to individual caucus events that end Saturday, when the state GOP announces the nonbinding presidential straw poll winner at an evening event in Portland.

Scott D’Amboise, of Lisbon Falls, one of two tea party-affiliated candidates challenging Snowe in the Senate primary, says in a campaign email that he and his wife, Debbie, also will be roving the state attending caucus events — 10 by this afternoon.

Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell, Snowe’s other primary rival, said he plans to attend five caucuses himself and has “representatives covering other events all over the state during the week.”

Collins at security event

Sen. Susan Collins is in Germany this weekend as a member of a congressional delegation participating in the 48th annual Munich Conference on Security Policy.

Collins left Thursday night for the conference on trans-Atlantic security issues. The Maine Republican plans to participate in discussions regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Middle East and current and future roles of NATO, according to her office.

Collins is the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Also attending are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., top Republican on the armed services committee; and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., homeland security committee chairman.

Same-sex marriage

Pingree made a pitch on the floor of the U.S. House last week for Maine voters to legalize same-sex marriage.

Pingree said Congress has made progress “on ending discriminatory practices such as ‘don’t ask don’t tell,’ but it will be up to us in Maine to bring marriage equality to our state.”

Advocates of gay marriage submitted more than 105,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office, seeking to place the same-sex marriage question on the fall ballot. In 2009, Maine voters overturned a law passed by the Legislature to allow same-sex marriage.

Pingree spoke during the period in the day when House lawmakers are allowed to deliver one-minute speeches on topics of their choosing.

She said that thousands of committed, loving same-sex couple in Maine are “denied the right to honor their love and commitment to each other through marriage.

But in November, “Maine people will have a chance to change that, and to join a growing list of states around the country that are setting aside discrimination and granting all couples the same right to get married,” Pingree said.

Senate action

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, tackled Alzheimer’s disease and airport security scanners last week in separate bill introductions.

Meanwhile, Snowe introduced legislation seeking to renew an array of small business tax breaks that expired during 2010 and 2011.

Snowe’s bill, co-authored with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., includes lower capital gains taxes on certain small business investments.

Collins joined a bipartisan group of senators and House members unveiling legislation aiming to speed more drugs that combat Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases to the market.

Collins joined another bipartisan group of senators introducing a bill requiring an independent study of whether the X-ray radiation emitted by some airport security scanners is harmful. The bill also says there should be prominent signs to alert travelers that they have the right to ask for screening alternatives to the X-ray scanners.

Michaud vs. GOP group

There’s a little difference of opinion between U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s re-election campaign and the GOP organization charged with defeating House Democrats.

The National Republican Congressional Committee put out a gleeful release last week after Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., announced his retirement. Like Michaud, Shuler is a member of the Blue Dog coalition of fiscally conservative House Democrats.

Charging that the ranks of Blue Dog Democrats are diminishing and that Michaud and other Blue Dogs vote too often with liberal Democrats and President Obama, the NRCC asked whether Michaud will “just retire now rather than face the embarrassment of being unelected in November?”

Apparently not.

Michaud’s campaign last week touted the findings of a Michaud-commissioned poll that finds the Democrat from the 2nd District up by double digits and “well-positioned to win re-election” over his GOP challenger, Maine Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry.

Jonathan Riskind — 791-6280

[email protected]


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