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Ayotte: Democratic leaders, White House doomed bid to end shutdown

By Bill Smith
New Hampshire Union Leader

October 13. 2013 11:58AM

MANCHESTER -- Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, said Sunday that Senate Democratic leaders and the White House scuttled a plan to resolve the stalemate that has shut down much of the federal government and threatens to send the country into default on its debt.

Negotiations on the plan written by Ayotte and Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska ended in a stalemate Saturday.

"We were close and then the Senate Democratic leadership and, I believe, the White House, pulled back," Ayotte said from Manchester on the CBS broadcast Face the Nation. "We had six Democrats, six Republicans and something that would get the government open, address the debt ceiling -- also some things we could agree on around Obamacare."

Many federal programs and installations were shut down when the government's authority to spend money expired on Oct. 1. Later this week, the government will run out of cash when federal borrowing hits the ceiling set by the Congress.

"I hope this bipartisan agreement can be resurrected so we can get this resolved and we can get the government open and also deal with the debt ceiling issue," Ayotte said. "We were close to a bipartisan agreement and I hope the President leads on this and that it doesn't just become a political game."

Ayotte called on the House of Representatives to "get its act together and come up with something that can pass the Senate ... if not, then the Senate is going to have to do it."

An opponent of the strategy of defunding the Affordable Care Act, Ayotte noted that the government is shut down, but the Obamacare health exchanges are open and operating. She called for conservatives to develop a workable plan.

"It's time for conservative problem solvers to move forward to govern the nation and to get things done," Ayotte said. "That's what Ronald Reagan did and I think that's what we need to do as a party."

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