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. HemlockStew

    The real harm will come if we continue this endless process of raising the debt limit to finance military expenditures and social programs. The Congress ought to set a hard line, and decide that the federal government can only spend what it can take in with taxes. Unfortunately, with the large number of unfunded liabilities created by the government, it will be impossible to fund them with tax dollars without destroying the productive sectors of our society.

    What this country really needs to do is do what Iceland did. Default and refuse to pay off the debt, fire and replace all the current politicians, and install a new and better system which doesn't rely on the ability to borrow money endlessly from other nations.

    October 5, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  2. Lycisca

    Sounds sensible to me.

    October 5, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. davecu

    Generally speaking, most people don't give a crap what you people do.
    Know that you're all out here at every opportunity!
    Mutts like you all are self serving and out of touch with your employer.

    We WILL remember in 2014 and 2016!

    October 5, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  4. Peg

    Thank you

    October 5, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  5. Jon

    Which part of "no" don't they understand?

    October 5, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    The real solution is very simple. Speaker Boehner should stand up to Tea Party insurgents in his caucus and find common ground with Democrats.

    October 6, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  7. Tim

    Sen. Durbin, don't say things like that. If the Republicans want to get rid of the device tax and you guys don't like it either then it sounds like a plan to me. All this "stand strong" bull isn't paying my bills. I need to go back to work to support my family.

    October 6, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  8. bellarue

    I get that the Republicans do not like Obamacare. Surely there are enough reasonable people around that would be willing to have a conversation about how to make this law better. If we could just shift the focus from "repeal", to "improve upon", the nation would cheer.

    October 6, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  9. mjbrin

    stop with playing with the Affordable Care Act. it is a law. house do a up or down vote and let's move on

    October 6, 2013 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. Vence

    The KKK just turn into TTT "Terrorists Traitors of TeaParty"

    October 6, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    "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."

    Riiiiiight, like corporations would ever honor this agreement ....

    October 6, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  12. Maripil

    What truly scares republicans is for Obamacare to succeed! They are doing their mighty best to defund or delay it. They don't care right now if thousands are not getting their paychecks after all congress will still get paid.

    October 6, 2013 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  13. just me

    At least this idea seems resonable. Too bad we don't have more conservatives like this lady. Instead we're stuck with the likes of Cruz and his lapdogs. Unretie Kay Bailey Hutchinson! Texas misses you!

    October 6, 2013 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  14. just me

    Oops, that should be unretire.

    October 6, 2013 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  15. Name Uche Agonsi

    Susan Collins and these other Repubs dont get it. If any decision is NOT 'clean-based', whether is on compromise or even on monetary attachment from the Teatrolls, any attachment whatsoever, its gun at the head and unacceptable to Mr. President. Boehner, with HIS MASTER Ted Cruz, acts like he (Boehner ) is more powerful than the POTUS. He should have demanded his wife(if there is any) be made the first lady instead of terroring the world. It takes more than selfishness to be a real President. President from 'GUN AT THE HEAD' is just momentary.

    October 6, 2013 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  16. Kevin M

    In a word, Susan, no.

    October 6, 2013 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  17. Robert

    wow, somebody who actually thinks outside the box.

    October 6, 2013 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  18. Name

    What's republicans really want? They talk about debts but want tax cuts, talking about companies that make money of people, tell me who they are fo? TTheir donors or the people that elected them

    October 6, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  19. PAllen

    How about these people do their jobs in the first place, and we are not in this mess. Pass the budget in time to reconcile, and both sides have to come to the table prepaed to compromise. That's what this debate is all about, refusal by both sides to compromise throughout the year, and get a budget passed.
    I would like to see them pass a 2 – 4 year budget, based on Congressional election cycles, instead of every year doing thee continung resolutions, then having to appropriate more money throughout the year as things come up. A longet term budget would alleviate these types of issues so these folks have the time to really sit down and negotiate about the larger issues that effect our country, like tax reform.
    In addition to a long term budget, impose requirements such as: must be present for votes, no extended "vacations" at tax payer expense, no lobbyists allowed in the Capitol building during session, not allowed to miss session time to campaign for re-election, just off the top of my head

    October 6, 2013 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  20. SaltyDog

    Using some fine point in the military pay bill just passed Hagel says that 90% of the DOD workers can now go back to work. So what was the point of the shutdown in the first place. So now only civilian workers that are not DOD will shoulder the burden of the shutdown. Also Congress has passed a bill to pay back wages for all the time off. As usual gov't workers rule the day. Wish I could get a week off with pay and not use any vacation time.

    October 6, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    GOP is gone to dogs in 2014. Period.

    October 6, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  22. tinytrump

    this might work, let the WOMEN have a say- time to sit the EGO's down (a. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.)

    October 6, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    Susan Collins, listen up:

    You and Republicans such as yourself who have stood hand in hand with the TeaParty have allowed the TeaPers within your party to:

    1. Make a mockery of politics.
    2. Make a mockery of women.
    3. Make a mockery of the United States government.
    4. Make a mockery of our poor.
    5. Make a mockery of our working class.
    6. Make a mockery of our elderly.
    7. Make a mockery of our jobs, our pensions, our social security.
    8. Make a mockery of our immigrants.
    9. Make a mockery of our minorities.
    10. Make a mockery of our Christianity.

    And now - as before - you and your "moderate" GOP stand before us and pretend you care ... really care about America.

    October 6, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. Tony in Maine

    Collins uses the word "bipartisan" in all sentences whether or not the sentence deals with her choices from a restaurant menu or the name of her cat. Her brain is just wired to say the word.

    That said – eliminating a tax specifically designed to fund the ACA is just more of the same crap Cruz has been peddling. She only reworded it to include the word bipartisan and proposes "smoothing out" pension payments which will increase – yada yada yada. It's Rube Goldberg at its best.

    It's time Susan admitted she is what she is – a Republican wo once promised to serve just two terms. She's running for #4 now.

    October 6, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  25. don in albuquerque

    It's really quite simple. Give them a clean bill. Allowing companies to cut payments to pension plans. What a crock. Why don't we cut you and the rest of your groups salaries by half. I keep hearing that is REALLY what America wants, but as usual you are unwilling to do that. Just the kind of plan to expect from the GOTP===NOTHING! A clean bill, the same thing given to every other President in history. But as this point I think the POTUS should start adding his own demands. The first being that Boehner, and Cruz resign. Now that would benefit the American people.

    October 6, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
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