Ayotte stresses cooperation to solve coming debt crisisBy DAMIEN FISHER
New Hampshire Union Leader
November 17. 2012 8:04PM
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte called for bipartisan solutions to the looming debt crisis when she delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama's weekly radio address on Saturday.
"Out-of-control deficits stand to bankrupt our country - casting a shadow of debt that will rob future generations of the American Dream," she said. "As the mother of two children, I won't let that happen."
This is the second time Ayotte has given the GOP response to the President's weekly address. A regular surrogate for Gov. Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign, Ayotte was also mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate before Wisconsin's U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was selected.
With a Republican lead Congress, Obama has the opportunity to reach across the aisle and negotiate a deal for the country, she said.
"Washington can't keep ducking the tough decisions," she said. "And the 'fiscal cliff' we're headed toward provides an opportunity for both parties to change our country's irresponsible spending path."
Video -- Sen. Ayotte delivers weekly Republican address:
The so-called Bush tax cuts are set to expire in January, and the tax rates Americans have paid for more than a decade will rise, she said. This will happen in conjunction with massive spending cuts to the military and social programs. If a deal is not reached between the President and Congress, these cuts and tax increases will further harm the economy, she said.
"Failure to stop this combination of tax hikes and arbitrary spending cuts threatens to throw our country's economy back into recession - at a time when millions are still out of work," she said. "This is a test we cannot fail."
For example, if there is no deal, military spending will be cut by close to $500 billion, costing defense contracting jobs and setting back America's armed forces, she said.
"In fact, the President's own secretary of defense has said that these reductions would 'inflict severe damage to our national defense for generations,'" she said.
Ayotte called on Obama to become actively engaged with Congress in cutting a deal to avoid the cuts and tax increases, saying the revenue needed can be found in reforming the tax code, rather than raising the tax rates across the board.
"As a reminder, just two years ago, President Obama said that raising taxes would be unwise given the weakness of our recovery," she said. "That's as true now as it was then."
This tax reform can be done without immediately harming the social safety net for seniors and the poor, she said. The nation will need to start reforming entitlements going forward to make sure the safety net is there for future generations.
"One thing is clear: doing nothing is not an option," she said.
"And any effort to address our fiscal crisis without including entitlement reform can't be taken seriously."