October 12, 2013

Susan Collins pitches plan to end shutdown, raise debt limit

The plan appears to gain her party’s support, but neither the president nor conservative House Republicans immediately endorse it.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, walks into the White House for a meeting with President Obama and other senators Friday. Collins presented one of several plans for re-opening the government and raising the nation’s debt limit.

The Associated Press

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, talks with reporters after arriving on Capitol Hill following a meeting between Republican senators and the president.

The Associated Press

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Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, estimated that Collins’ presentation only took five or 10 minutes during the roughly 90-minute meeting at the White House on Friday. But Hatch said Collins “had done us all a big favor by having the courage to come up with” a proposal.

Asked if he believes the Collins proposal is the most likely path to an agreement, Hatch responded: “I don’t know about that. That’s just one of them.”

McCain predicted that some change to the medical device tax – whether a repeal or a delay – “will probably be part of any agreement” because both sides have opposed the tax in the past.

The round of White House meetings comes as Republicans are feeling more heat on the shutdown. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 53 percent of respondents blamed Republicans for the government shutdown, compared to 31 percent blaming Obama. Just 24 percent of those polled had a positive view of the Republican Party, compared to 39 percent for Democrats. The poll suggests Obama’s standing with Americans has risen slightly.

McCain, who has been a vocal critic of House Republican strategy linking government funding to the health care act, called the polls “devastating” and said of his House counterparts, “I know they are reading the polls.”

“We do need to reopen government and we do need to deal with the debt limit,” Collins said. “I believe that the plan that I put forward is increasingly attracting interest from members on both sides of the aisle, based on what I am hearing.” 

Kevin Miller can be reached at (207) 317-6256 or at: kmiller@pressherald.comTwitter: KevinMillerDC

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Additional Photos

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, center, talks with, from left, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen.. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R- Alaska, and Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday. Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the 11-day partial government shutdown as part of a framework that would include cuts in benefit programs, officials said Friday.

The Associated Press

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, walks in the rain back to her bus at the North Portico of the White House in Washington on Friday after she and Republican senators met with President Barack Obama regarding the government shutdown and debt ceiling.

The Associated Press


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