Republican senator says she has plan to end shutdown
October 5th, 2013
08:33 PM ET
6 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. Urafkntool

    as long as Repubs ignore their const ituents demands (stop osambocare) the dumbocrats will qork with them

    October 6, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Yas

    The Dems should stand firm on not compromising the ACA yes it may need some work just like Soc. Sec and Medicare did. OH BY THE WAY the GOP also fought tooth and nail to stop both when they were adopted. So Yes work together children to fix ACA (a fundamentally good law that is needed for so many in our country) without the threat of an economic shutdown...All Great nations have been brought down from within...for the past almost 5 years the party politics have been disgusting and an shameful (I'm ashamed to say my GOP party has been the worst) do not let our nations' downfall be on this Congress' head in the History Books. Start working for the country and its' citizens not Party Politics, Big Corporations, Tea Party Extremist and Lobbyist and START DOING YOUR JOBS OR LOSE YOUR JOBS.

    October 6, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. digitalclips

    However well intentioned this lady is and she sounds genuine to me she needs to understand, any bone thrown to the Tea Party by the President is allowing blackmail to succeed. You do not negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers. To do so invites a repeat scenario. The GOP need to back down and apologize to the American people. Then I suggest they clean house.

    October 6, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. William

    Why do we not just settle this debate over the health care act by an emergency form of direct democracy. Every citizen votes and that's that. If people do not vote that is their problem.

    October 6, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Data Driven

    "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."

    Just a little reminder of hard-headed practical politics for those liberals who tend to beatify Ms. Warren. Perhaps Ms. Warren can explain how that lost revenue will be made up.

    Meanwhile, I have a better idea than Ms. Collins' idea: let the House vote on the clean CR today. It would be pass. End of shutdown.

    October 6, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Anon

    These politicians should be ashamed of themselves, they way they've treated the American people by not giving them dignity and the ability to do their job...my karma get you back for the way you see fit to treat people that you're supposed to represent

    October 6, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Wayne

    Alls I can say is, tell these narcissistic pukes to pack their bags and get out. America does not have just a two party political system. I would have to believe that at least one of the other political parties has someone with enough intelligence and integrity plus also wants to be in congress "for the people and by the people" that they would be worth looking at. In the past I never voted the straight ticket. I would dig around and read about the possible nominees, look at their platforms, try to check out their histories (because who you are as a person will show up in you life), and then make a choice. Now, to me, the republicans have shown me as a whole exactly what they are about. Sure, I will still take a look at the nominees, but it wouldn't be out of the world of possibilies that I will be forced to vote the straight democratic ticket.

    October 6, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP should just give up!!!!! You already lost and obamacare is here to stay , get used to it as for the teabafoon Cruz he won't be around long, the teaparty doesn't have the votes and only represent 1/100 of voters and will never win a national election, just look at their performance now!!!!! You think voters want more of this??????the GOP garbage of America train wreck is coming in 2014 midterms when they LOSE the house and have no power . 70% of voters are AGAINEST the GOP garbage of America!!!!!!!

    October 6, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. Iris

    Politicians are all about winning! They should all be fired from the CONGRESS, SENATE, WHITE HOUSE! They should all go to jail for treason and domestic terrorism. The govt. shut down and will back pay furloughed govt employees! How about the govt contractors????? They are all in limbo and yet nobody seems to even include them in the picture. What a big JOKE!!!!!!!!! At least the govt workers will be able to pay their bills and continue on...the govt contractors have to fend for themselves. What politicians are doing are putting American lives in danger – emotionally, physically and mentally! Their childish act will trigger raw feelings that can be dangerous to everyone!

    October 6, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. Daniel Maddigan

    Republicans now want to fund one budget item at a time. This gives them total veto power over every aspect of the government. What they are asking for is a situation where everything ts unfunded unless expressly permitted by the tea party. What else besides the ACA will not receive their permission? Food stamps, EPA, Business regulatory agencies, Federal reserve, Their list will be endless.

    October 6, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    I have a solution , get rid of the GOP garbage of America !!!!!

    October 6, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. HenryMiller

    "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."

    The very definition of kicking the can down the road, and precisely the mechanism that led to the pop of the housing bubble five years ago. This "plan" is just irresponsible.

    "...but only on one condition. House Republicans must first pass a short-term spending bill without any anti-Obamacare provisions."

    So Durbin wants the GOP to surrender first, thereby giving away its only real bargaining leverage, before engaging in any bargaining. Yeah, right. It's like what happened repeatedly in Ireland a couple decades ago, the British government kept demanding of the IRA, "Disarm yourselves, and then, after you're powerless, we'll negotiate." Ridiculous.

    October 6, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Tom1940

    Where has Sen. Collins been for the last (almost) 5 years? The words "compromise" has never been used by the Democrats in all that time, except to say "The Republicans will never!" Wrong! The Democrats have demonstrated time and again they are not in the "compromise" business. Therefore, why even go there? It would be best in the House of Representatives to just bombard the Senate with proposal after proposal, making "Harry's Table" squeak and strain with the weight of those "tabled" bills and try and explain to the voters how it is the Republicans are doing nothing to end this deadlock, while Harry sits on top of a mountain of paper.

    October 6, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. wow

    Here's an idea. The GOP can do their jobs, or the American people can show some good sense and fire them.
    Who do these people think they are?

    October 6, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. baconservative

    Riino's like Collins should shut up. Those people let Obamacare through when it clearly in't any good. A CR without funding Obamacare is the new clear CR.

    October 6, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. wendel

    Collins has always been a voice of reason unlike the baggers who bring discord with them . It will be up to the young people to make the affordable care act work and bring justice and fairness to the American people. Each election brings more diversity and youth into the process. Hopefully a few more elections and all these clowns will be gone. Holding the American people hostage is no way to run a country. We are sick of the republican far right and all the looney tunes they attract. They are a mental health disaster.

    October 6, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Scott

    The President obviously will let the shutdown and debt ceiling situations remain unchanged until January 2017.

    October 6, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Dean

    The goal here should be economic certainty and job growth.
    To create economic certainty, Congress should pass a 12 month continuing resolution, and raise the debt limit to $20 Trillion.
    To create job growth, Congress should pass a jobs bill, including such programs as an infrastructure program, education, and incentives for companies to create jobs here at home. They should also allow companies to bring home from abroad their large cash reserves, with low taxes.
    End this shutdown now, and do the right thing for the American people.
    After that, Congress should work on the annual budget, and put in place a path to get to a balanced budget, in the long term.
    I would also recommend daily meetings between the President and Congressional leaders, until this is resolved, then weekly meetings after that, to discuss legislation.

    October 6, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. EP

    Grand Idea:
    -No more political parties. Let candidates run on their own merit. No contributions, just equal time in debates and interviews.
    -Enforce 4-8 yr term limits.
    This is a good start to end the stupid dirty politics in any country.

    October 6, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. Bubba

    The loser in a battle does not get to tell the winner of the battle that they should "compromise".
    Like many fascist zealots before them, the GOP assumed a hard line which will prove to be their undoing. The GOP bet the house, and are soon going to find themselves homeless. This could not happen to a nicer bunch of dirtbags.

    October 6, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. Dan

    Democrats must stand firm, and I'm a republican, until yesterday. Shutting down the Government or risking default to undermine a law – even a bad one – that was legally approved is shameful. Getting concessions to stop all the spending is one thing as that is a budget issue, but this fiasco is completely different and a bad precedent. What's next, shutting down the Government when you don't like an election result? This is a very dangerous path that the Republican Party is following. I can't support this party any more.

    October 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Ken Black

    This is the reason America was never suppose to have a thug president. Oh boy this Chicago thug fooled all of u. Laughable!!!

    October 6, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Tutuvabene

    Her proposal will, of course, go nowhere, as it doesn't offer anything really new.

    October 6, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Ken Black

    GOP don't give in to a thug president!!!

    October 6, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. kle

    I don't want OBAMA CARE – this is communism – this is not democracy which our country was born on. Get rid of Obama Care and then get rid of Obama

    October 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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