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Shaheen, Ayotte Proposals For Fiscal Cliff Deal Reflect National Partisan Debate

With a Jan. 1 deadline for the so-called fiscal cliff looming, New Hampshire’s senators are in the Granite State and discussing what needs to be done to reach a deal. 

At an event meant to celebrate New Hampshire’s all-female delegation last week, the most excited crowd reaction came when the discussion turned to dealing with the nation’s fiscal issues.

“The biggest issue for me is that we are 16 trillion in debt," Sen. Kelly Ayotte said during a celebration of the state's all-female delegation last week.

A women yelled "thank you!" from the audience, followed by some cheers.

The plans being laid out by Ayotte, a Republican, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, on how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff are emblematic of the stark political divide on the issue nationally.

Shaheen says that to reach a deal, everything needs to be on the table.

“We’ve got to look at revenues; we’ve got to look at the domestic side of the budget. We’ve got to look at the defense side, and we’ve got to look at the mandatory programs. I think we do have to make some tough choices.”

Ayotte says discussions on dealing with the nation’s debt need to include reforming entitlement programs.

“Programs like Social Security and Medicare – we have to start talking about how we reform them because, for example, Medicare goes bankrupt 2024. That’s not far off for many in this room that would rely on it or your grandparents.”

This Friday, Ayotte will be in the North Country holding a town hall meeting at the Pittsburg fire station. She’s expected to focus on the economy.  Shaheen toured a business in Somersworth and talked about the risks of not reaching a deal this month.

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.
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