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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Sen. Coburn headed to NH; Dems issue call on shutdown

By John DiStaso, Senior Political Reporter
October 04. 2013 10:17AM

FRIDAY, OCT. 4: RYAN VISIT POSTPONED. Former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta's planned fundraiser next Tuesday featuring U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has been postponed, due to scheduled votes on the House floor, a Guinta campaign aide said today.

Ethan Zorfas of the Guinta campaign said, "We are excited that the event had raised over $200,000 and we are grateful for that."

Not mentioned in the official statement is the obvious point that it would be poor form for Ryan to leave the Capitol to raise money at a fundraiser with a government shutdown underway.

FRIDAY, OCT. 4: CALLING DR. COBURN. Oklahoma Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn will make an appearance in New Hampshire to help raise funds for the state Republican Party, the Granite Status has learned.

Coburn will be in the state for a fund-raiser on Nov. 8 in Manchester. The venue has yet to be announced. The event will celebrate the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Coburn is a conservative who opposed Tea Party-backed U.S. House members' attempts to tie the de-funding of Obamacare to a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.

He said this week on the Senate floor that without presidential veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, attempts to de-fund the health care law would be pointless.

Coburn, who has been in the Senate since 2005, is a physician who specializes in family medicine, obstetrics and the treatment of allergies. According to his biography, he has personally delivered more than 4,000 babies. He is also a three-time cancer survivor.

He is known for his annual "Wastebook" report, highlighting what he views as wasteful federal spending.

Last year's "Wastebook" reported on federal funding for such things as Moroccan pottery classes, the promotion of caviar consumption and the production of a robotic squirrel named "RoboSquirrel."

State Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn called Coburn "a strong Republican leader who has stood up for taxpayers by fighting to eliminate wasteful government spending.

"He has consistently voted to cut taxes and limit the size and scope of our runaway federal government. We are pleased that he has agreed to travel to New Hampshire to help us raise the resources we need to elect more responsible Republicans in 2014," Horn said.

FRIDAY, OCT. 4: NHDP: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The state Democratic Party today called on Sen. Kelly Ayotte and the Republican candidates for federal office to urge House Speaker John Boehner to let the House vote on a "clean" continuing resolution.

The NHDP said there are signs that a majority in the House is now ready to support a "clean" resolution. It pointed to a Thursday report in The Washington Post that there are now 19 Republicans in support of a clean resolution, which combined with 200 Democrats who would vote for it, would be a majority.

But Boeher, the Post noted, would almost certainly lose his speakership if he allowed such a vote.

Boehner "is refusing to bring a vote the floor despite knowing it would pass with bipartisan support," said NHDP spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

"It is shameful that Ayotte, (Jim) Rubens, (Frank) Guinta and (Gary) Lambert's priorities are with the Tea Party instead of New Hampshire during this shutdown," Kirstein said.

U.S. House candidates Guinta and Lambert support the House Republican strategy of tying the de-funding of Obamacare to a continuing resolution.

Rubens, who is running for the U.S. Senate, has called for a "grand bargain" to delay Obamacare by a year, pass a clean continuing resolution and during the one-year delay expand a former "super-committee's" role to find a replacement for Obamacare.

Ayotte opposes tying de-funding Obamacare to a continuing resolution.

But last week, she voted to invoke cloture to allow debate on the Obamacare plan to proceed.

She has since voted in favor of bringing to the Senate floor House-passed measures that would delay Obamacare by a year, repeal the medical devise tax, delay the Obamacare individual mandate by a year and prohibit employer contributions for members of Congress, congressional staff, the President, vice president, White House staff and political appointees on the health exchanges.

All of those measure were defeated by the Democratic majority in the Senate.

"Senator Ayotte supports repealing and replacing Obamacare," said her spokesman, Jeff Grappone, "but from the beginning she has opposed the strategy of shutting down the government to de-fund the law -- tactic that we now know hasn't worked.

"She hopes the leadership of the House and Senate will come together immediately to responsibly fund the government and end the shutdown," Grappone said.

NHGOP executive director Matt Slater responded to the Democratic criticism saying, "Liberals like Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Representatives Annie Kuster and Representative Carol Shea-Porter are taking orders from Washington politicians like Harry Reid instead of working on a solution. They have refused to stand up for their constituents and work across the aisle on a deal to reopen our government and protect Granite Staters from the devastating impact that ObamaCare will have on patients and small businesses."

(See earlier Granite Status reports elsewhere on this page or by clicking on "Granite Status above.)

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