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

    What I think is so ridiculous about this entire event is everyone is just talking about party vs. party. Why isn't anyone considering the fact that our country is $17 Trilling in debt and this whole thing is about going more in to debt. Our country is broke, we spend far more than we make. At some point, this will happen again and again. What we should be arguing is that government spending as a whole, including Obamacare, is going to increase the velocity at which we continue to fall down through this spiral. No one seems to be talking about that. All anyone cares about is complaining about one party or the other. It's the government as a whole that should be blamed. We will eventually be just like the failing countries in the EU. Does anyone care about that?

    Lastly, I'm sick of how unbelievably biased every news company is now, I can't watch a single news channel anymore without realizing how biased they are towards one party or the other... Even news sucks.

    October 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. pindleton

    @HenryMiller: "...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"

    I'm glad to see you compare the Tea Party to the IRA (a former domestic terrorist organization). I can see the stark similarities. Except one used bombs and firearms while the other wields an economic nuclear bomb.

    October 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Stephanie OKelley

    What happened to Obama saying that the American People would not fund Obamacare?? That taxes would not be raised to fund it??? This sounds just like that is exactly what is happening, not just that but Companies can lower their contributions to their employee's pensions??? How does this help the American People?

    October 6, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. mungo

    Republicans calculated the odds of shutting down the government succeeding versus the odds they were doing something incredibly stupid... and they went ahead anyway.

    October 6, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. NameFrank Deery

    Good idea! As a Republican, I think this plan works for all. Problem is: Obama is milking this "shutdown to cover his mistakes in Syria, possibly
    Somalia as well, paving the way for a Democrat majority in 2014, so he can tax and spend in his final, Thank God, 2 dismal
    years.

    Obama spends more time on tv whining and blaming, while he should, as President, be bringing the parties together for a deal. He is President of all, not just Democrats, so his not rising above petty politics for a solution,
    Puts him in the way of a solution, no matter how sound-as we have from a Moderate Republcan Woman Senator, who is usually right!

    October 6, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    Bottom line: TPublicans ARE NOT TRYING OR LOOKING TO NEGOTIATE. This is about one thing: harming the president by destroying as much economic growth as possible. Anyone who believes this is anything other than what it is – should pay closer attention to their actions since this president took office.
    How dare he [Obama] make us feel inferior for the first time in our miserable lives and how dare [a minority], make laws for us.
    What a sad group they are.

    October 6, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    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.
    -
    Most of what you say is true with one exception: FUTURE presidents will not have to face this kind of disruptive behavior. This is only happening because TPublicans refuse to accept and respect this president. Make no mistake about it.

    October 6, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. mark hensley

    Hey, Collins. I have a better idea.
    Present a clean bill for a vote. And stop trying to use backhanded ways to refund the ACA.

    God. Republicans must think Democrats are as dumb as them.

    October 6, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. elucidated1

    It is a tiny bit naive for Republicans to think this bullying tactic will not have collateral damage for them down the road. It will. And for Boehner to refuse to even allow a clean CR vote . . .just to keep his seat is unconscionable. But, the Democrats thank Cruz and Boehner. . .who they continue to help.

    October 6, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Thomas Nichols

    The Obamacare Disaster List keeps growing:
    1.) Government shutdown caused by Obamacare affects payroll of 800,000 plus people
    2.) Tertiary beneficiaries of government employees affected by the shutdown suffer loss of income due to not being able to provide the service they normally do such as food and supplies
    3.) Senior citizen WWII travelers have to break down barricade to visit the site they came to honor.
    *4.) Woman tries to break in to the white house with a child in her vehicle. Woman is shot and killed. (possibly related)
    5.) Day 3: Day traders realize the short term thinking is incorrect and the stock market begins to decline.
    6.) Prolonged shutdown continues to cause a decline in teh stock market.
    7.) Man believed to have set himself on fire on the Mall in Washington.
    8.) Secret coded plea on National Weather Service site: 'PLEASE PAY US' 10/4/2013
    9.) "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.

    October 6, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    @ Bubba
    That was the most common sense posts I've read this morning. It was well worth my time.

    @ Dan
    I wish you well.

    October 6, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Mr_Blunder

    Ms, Collins, the insanity in the House can only stop when Mr. Cruz is censored and his Tea-Party is told to stand-down by the moderate leadership. The damage to the GOP has already been done, no undoing that, but this extortion must stop before any more damage is done to our country. Time to take a stand and be counted as a true patriot and place country over self.

    October 6, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Larry

    My experience with negotiations is that two sides have demands and they reach a compromise. I understand the Republicans want changes to ACA. What is it that the Democrats want?

    October 6, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. John

    Good luck on that. You couldn't even get done anything this week or last week or the last 6 months. Now you are trying to get something done in 11 days. Must have a large staff speed writing and you also must be a speed reader. Explain more on this "Smoothing out" of Pension Payments; Is it for everyone or just your special interest groups. Lets see your plan now and let us judge how long you last in office.

    October 6, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Aaron

    Let's call this what it is, economic terrorism.! Boehner and Cruz and the GOP have resorted to terrorizing American workers and businesses over a law that was passed through the democratic process three years ago. Moreover, the argument about the debt and our country's legacy is bogus as well. This argument is built on the country has only a spending problem. No, it has a revenue and priority problem. A decaying infrastructure, one in five in poverty, the upper 1% controlling 83% of wealth, candidates owing their soul to the company store, not to America. The behavior by congress, particularly the House, under Boehner and is bullies, is the pure and simple economic terrorism, as it leaves millions without essential services, essential business for their well being, and work.

    October 6, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Julian

    If the Tea Party gets away with this then they will love it and keep repeating this scandalous behavior. They already agreed to the budget – they should honor their agreement. Can you imagine how far they would go if they were allowed to use the threat of economic disruption as a means to get anything and everything they wake up and decide they want ?

    October 6, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Andy25Name

    Sounds like they are closer to a solution.

    October 6, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. countryrose

    How can we be broke in one hand and told we are then the richest country in the world. SOMEONE is lying again. A good way to stop that is to sell stuff, not take it out of its citizens healthcare, for God's sake! You can't have it both ways.

    October 6, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. countryrose

    Frankly do not know why Maine would have voted Sen. Collins into power? Makes no sense.

    October 6, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. penguin

    How does eliminating a source of revenue help lower the deficit. I own a chunk of Stryker stock and its value increased significantly this year, yet it was subject to the medical device tax. That tax obviously didn't shut down Stryker.

    October 6, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Jonljne

    Stupid. Let's underfund pensions and increase the deficit. I literally think congress needs to be thrown out if not overthrown. They represent no one anymore

    October 6, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Keith

    John Boehner and the few crazies are ruining the country. They spend the money and then refuse to pay their own debt. Plus if they get away with this extortion, how many more times will this happen in the future? I can't believe that John Boehner wants something in exchange for doing his job!

    October 6, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Toltec1

    "Well Stanley, another fine mess you've gotten us into"! The question is, who is Stanley in this mess? I think Cruz. Peace

    October 6, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. bcrunner

    So, The Republicans passed all the bills one by one in the House and did not pass the ones they like. Reid should tell them to pass all of the bills and send them to him and he will pass them ALL together... That would b nice...

    October 6, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Jmr

    Another sheep in wolf's clothing

    October 6, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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