NH News
4:34 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Ayotte: Now Is The Time For Congress To Plan For Spending Cuts

New Hampshire Food Bank director Mel Gosselin, left, speaks with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, right, in Manchester on Wednesday.
Credit Michael Brindley, NHPR

Senator Kelly Ayotte says Congress needs to act now to cut spending or it will face another last-minute decision at the end of February.

“We want to fund our priorities, but there’s some things we can’t afford, programs that have been going on that maybe don’t work anymore. We really have to go through line by line and get that done.”

The deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff pushed the deadline for across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration to March 1.

Democratic leaders have said more revenue is still needed, but Ayotte says the focus needs to be on reducing spending.

“We should be doing the budgeting work now and really coming up with a responsible fiscal plan. That to me has been the number one thing we can do rather than have these dramatic moments like the fiscal cliff.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she is disappointed Congress missed an opportunity to achieve a grand bargain in December.

“There’s no question that we need to do more to rein in our debt and deficits.  We need a comprehensive deficit reduction plan that looks at all areas of spending – domestic, mandatory and defense – as well as revenues."

Shaheen says Congress must work in coming weeks and avoid the automatic spending cuts and a potential downgrade of the nation's credit rating.

The Senate returns to Washington in two weeks.