I recently wrote to our junior senator, Kelly Ayotte, and asked if she agreed with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska that Congress must raise the debt ceiling and pay the bills that it has obligated itself to pay. Today, I received a long rather wordy reply about all the great things she has done in her two years in Congress:
“When I came to the Senate, I knew Congress was broken. However, nothing could have prepared me for the absurd level of government dysfunction I have witnessed during the first two years of my term. Most Americans would be surprised to learn that the president is about to miss – for the fourth time – the statutory deadline to submit his budget proposal. Many would also be surprised to learn that the Senate majority has refused to pass a statutorily required budget resolution for the past three years and is poised not to pass a budget for a fourth consecutive year. And last year, the Senate did not pass a single one of its twelve annual appropriations bills, and has regularly relied on a series of short-term continuing resolutions and pork-filled omnibus spending packages to fund the government. Put simply, this is no way to run a government or to get our nation’s spending under control.”
“No effort to address our fiscal crisis can be taken seriously unless it includes structural reforms to preserve entitlements, which represent the primary drivers of America’s long-term, runaway debt. In fact, the non-partisan trustees in charge of Medicare and Social Security say that the programs are headed for insolvency as early as 2024 and 2033, respectively. Seniors like my grandparents depend on Medicare and Social Security for a dignified retirement. It is up to us to ensure that these programs are there for future beneficiaries, and we can reform these programs without impacting current beneficiaries or those nearing retirement. One thing is clear: doing nothing is not an option.”
As a rightwing Republican Tea Party favorite, I find it hard to believe that Ms. Ayotte has any interest in protecting Medicare and Social Security, since the majority of Republicans want to see these programs end. In her two years in Congress, she has had her picture taken with some of the most extreme members of her party, which makes me think she is definitely one of them. She never answers the question I posed. Can this opportunistic woman be trusted?