Republican senator says she has plan to end shutdown
October 5th, 2013
08:33 PM ET
10 months ago

Republican senator says she has plan to end shutdown

(CNN) – "The list of harm goes on and on. It is time for this shutdown to end," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaking on the Senate floor Saturday.

Collins called for compromise from Republicans, Democrats and President Barack Obama as she put forth a proposal she said would end the government shutdown.

As the shutdown effect’s spread, members of Congress have expounded on leadership and compromise as they search for a solution. But it seems that little progress has been made as the shutdown drags on late into its fifth day.

Collins had some advice for members of the House.

“From the start of this debate, I have urged our House colleagues not to adopt a policy that linked Obamacare with the funding of government.”

However, her newest proposal seems to take a different track - the central tenet of the proposal calls for a repeal of the medical device tax imposed by Obamacare. The 2.3% excise tax she refers to helps to fund Obamacare and went into effect at the beginning of 2013. The tax will raise about $30 billion in revenues over 10 years.

In order to offset this loss in revenue, Collins proposed “smoothing out” the size of payments into pension plans. She explained that this strategy would allow private businesses to lower their pension contributions in the near future, in exchange for higher payments down the line. Collins says this would result in lower deductions for companies and more tax revenue for the government.

The medical device tax is largely considered unpopular, including among some Democrats whose states harbor medical device employers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, for example, penned an op-ed for a trade magazine advocating for a repeal last year while she was running for the Senate.

House Republicans attached a repeal of the tax, along with a one-year delay of Obamacare, to one of the short-term spending bills, also known as a continuing resolution, it sent to the Senate early in the week. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would not negotiate over Obamacare as long as it's attached to the spending bill.

On CNN's "New Day" Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said he's ready to put a medical device tax repeal "on the table," but only on one condition. House Republicans must first pass a short-term spending bill without any anti-Obamacare provisions. Then, he said, the Senate will be prepared to separately reconcile with House Republicans on Obamacare - but only if the government is open and functioning.

"Of course the conversation should continue, but let's not do it with our government shutdown," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Reid made similar comments on the Senate floor right before the shutdown went into effect, rejecting the House's proposal to go to conference and work out a compromise.

"We will not go to conference with a gun to our head," Reid said.


Filed under: Government Shutdown • Healthcare • Susan Collins
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. boungiorno

    when you put a tall glass of water in front of you It's transparent! Now look at our country what's being done right in plain sight, God Speed people we are living in dangerous times.

    October 5, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    The republicans want a negotiation and compromise. Wonderful, but what are they willing to give? "We won't shut down the government" is not a concession. To put it in perspective;

    Harry Reid could demand a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used for abortion, in exchange for not shutting down the government.

    Pres. Obama could call, oh say, the North Carolina delegation and ask for their support in this mess, and in exchange he will agree to not close Ft Bragg.

    There's no difference between the three.

    October 5, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. Leein MD

    I am really sick of Reid and Obama saying they will not negotiate "with a gun to our head" I am pretty sure that if there is a gun to your head, that is exactly when you would start negotiating. They should say something like " I will not negotiate with someone that says they have a gun in their pocket" Until you call the bluff (or they actually pull the gun) there is no reason to negotiate.

    October 5, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    seems reasonable- go for it

    October 5, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. Tom

    Sigh. Republicans still don't get it. Any plan where Democrats have to give up something in exchange fo reopening the government is dead.

    October 5, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. xian

    What has happened to editing? "Central tenant"? It's "tenet"!

    October 5, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. xian

    So her plan to balance out this medical-device tax is to allow businesses to continue underfunding their pensions? How absurd.

    She doesn't seem to understand that there will be no changes to the ACA while the government is shut down.

    October 5, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  8. Kieran

    Republicans need to understand – You can't "negoatiate" with a gun to your head. "We'll reopen the government" isn't something that you can offer to the Democrats. If you want to "compromise," you have to make your own sacrifice to match theirs.

    Furthermore, Obama cannot cave because the Republicans will be encouraged to shut down the government again. Even on the medical devices tax. If he gives them anything – and I mean *anything* – he will be unable to effectively govern the country and neither will future presidents who face congressional opposition. You can't reward bad behavior or else it will become the norm. Collins should really think about this before she opens her mouth. It's a matter of principle.

    October 5, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. jzap

    Sounds good to me. Maybe we can have Larry the Cable Guy come in for a common sense pep talk. How does he say it "Get R Done !!!"

    October 5, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. a meesage from America

    Attention. Release. The. Hostage. Surrender. And. We. Will. Talk.

    October 5, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Dan

    Another GOP member that doesn't get it. The medical device tax is negotiable as part of overall budget discussion. It is NOT negotiable as part of the CR to run the government. Get the government up and running and negotiate as part of the budget process.

    Tell you're compatriots in the House to go to a conference committee on the budget. No more insisting that the Senate either passes the House budget or nothing.

    October 5, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. sandvichmancer

    Better hope Cruz doesn't boot her out of the caucus for this. It seems like she's actually trying.

    October 5, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Has Collins been sleeping the last 7 days? That is not a solution. As for Dick Durbin, the more he talks, the more you wish he would shut up.

    October 5, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Short term? The republicans will be back shutting down our economy and holding government hostage in a few weeks. Most of us are getting sick of GOP stupidity.

    October 5, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. emskadittle

    the democrats already gave the republicans the cuts they want, why should they get something else?

    October 5, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. Pandamonius

    Teapublican version of compromise: Offering a bill that not only sabotages the ACA's funding, but also gives allows businesses to save money by not contributing as much to their employees pension funds.

    Why does that not surprise me?

    October 5, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Nothing will change until Ted Cruz , Green Eggs and Ham man admits it was a bad idea to waste the American peoples time and money for the benefit of showmanship .

    October 5, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  18. Nothing At All

    "the central tenant" – what m0ron wrote this article. The word is TENET, Sen. Collins is not renting, she is stating a principle. Geez

    October 5, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. Nothing At All

    Don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree. Everyone wants something, but nobody wants to pay for it.

    October 5, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Jim M

    Yeah. like the tea partiers would ever go for this. They have already made clear that anything short of getting rid of the healthcare law is not acceptable.

    October 5, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. DaveLake

    Really-"short-term spending bill" to solve the problem? Let's get things done and stop the Tea Party from making a mess out of things

    October 5, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  22. ED1

    Again if you would have read Obamacare you would see how stupid it is like requiring all men to have materinty insurance for starters and women don't have to what the hell is that all about.

    After a couple that is 62 and had their own insurance policy having to pay $3,120 a year under Obamacare it cost the $20,000 and yes they would have to change their insurance plan. Remember Obama said if you like your plan you wouldn't have to change what a bunch of BS.

    Go online and try it out if you can get online their system doesn't work very well just like Obamacare.

    Remember the majority of tax payers didn't want this crap it was forced down out throats by the Democrats and your best President ever Obama.

    October 5, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  23. scott cisney

    If getting rid of this tax allows republicans to save face over this catastrophe of their own making I say give it to them. It is a small price to pay. I guess they have to feel like they got something out of this mess. For heavens sake, just vote out every republican next fall. Don't forget what they have done to all of us, for their own petty political gratifications!

    October 5, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. plain and simple

    I would imagine Ted Cruz and his band of not so merry men will have a problem with this. Idiots!!!

    October 5, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  25. Brian

    I am fine with that deals. We can work on improving the healthcare until it is perfect. By removing it will cause a bigger mess, we need to keep pre existing conditions idea. We just have to take ACA apart to find all the problem that we do have and find out why that piece is important.

    October 5, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
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