Senator Ayotte Sounds Off on Budget, Debt Ceiling Crisis
New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte expressed frustration with the budget stalemate and debt ceiling crisis on “Face The Nation” Sunday morning. Host Bob Schieffer began by asking her where she thinks negotiations are since House Republicans' failed bid to defund Obamacare.
“We were close, and then the Senate Democratic leadership, and I believe the White House, pulled back," Ayotte said. "And where I’m concerned, Bob, is where we are now is that the defunding strategy was a zero-sum strategy, and now we have a zero-sum response.”
Maine Republican Susan Collins had proposed a two year delay on a medical device tax that helps fund the healthcare law. Her plan also called for raising the debt ceiling through January, and funding the government through March. Senate Democratic leadership rejected the proposal, saying it only delays another crisis.
Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell began preliminary negotiations following the rejection of the Collins plan.
On "Face the Nation" Ayotte also joined a rising number of congressional Republicans criticizing the Tea Party’s Obamacare stratgegy, which triggered the government shutdown. Ayotte said she doesn't support the healthcare law. But she called the gambit led by Senator Ted Cruz a “failing strategy from the beginning.”
“But look where we are, from the beginning. The government’s shut down, Obamacare exchanges have still opened, so I just disagreed with the strategy," Ayotte said. "I think it’s time for conservative problem solvers to move forward, to govern the nation together to get things done. That’s what Ronald Reagan did, and I think that’s what we need to do as a party.”
The government shutdown is only part of the problem. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Thursday, the Treasury Department says it will run out of money to pay the country's bills.