Kelly Ayotte Goes Full Washington

Kelly Ayotte is launching her reelection campaign as one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country. Granite Staters don’t trust Ayotte to put them first ahead of the special interests bankrolling her campaign, and it’s easy to see why after five years in D.C.

Ayotte’s resume reads like a who’s who of out-of-touch Republican positions:

  • Ayotte supports raising the retirement age and cutting Social Security benefits.
  • Ayotte voted to roll back Wall Street reforms, while her largest donors are Wall Street execs.
  • Ayotte opposes equal pay measures and voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • Ayotte voted to voucherize Medicare in the Ryan Budget.
  • Ayotte is anti-choice and would overturn Roe v. Wade.
  • Ayotte voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • Ayotte would allow employers to make health care decisions for female employees by supporting the Blunt Amendment and Hobby Lobby decision.
  • Ayotte opposes marriage equality and same-sex adoption.
  • Ayotte voted against allowing people to refinance their college loan debt.

It’s no wonder that Republicans are already vowing to shatter previous New Hampshire spending and groups like Karl Rove’s are jumping into the race to prop up Kelly Ayotte. Special interests are doing everything they can to keep Ayotte in D.C. because she’s a rubber stamp for their priorities.


 

Background:

Raise the Retirement Age

Kelly Ayotte said she is open to raising the retirement age. While answering a question on raising the cap on Social Security taxes, Ayotte remarked, “The way Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did the deal was raise the cap to some extent, not as, I think, as dramatically as you said, but raise the cap. And then, gradually to give people time to plan, over a decade or more, plus, that one was even longer, gradually raise the retirement age.” [American Bridge Tracking Footage, 1/16/15]


Bad For Women

Roe v. Wade

Ayotte Argued That Roe v. Wade Should Be Overturned. According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Ayotte said the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion should be overturned, but states should regulate abortion rather than adopt a constitutional change.” [Nashua Telegraph, 8/20/10]

Blunt Amendment

2012: Ayotte Was A Co-Sponsor Of The Blunt Amendment, Which Would Have Allowed Employers To Opt-Out Of Health Care Coverage To Which They Had A Moral Objection. According to the Boston Globe, “Brown and Ayotte are among the 37 cosponsors who say the bill would prevent intrusive federal mandates and protect religious freedoms. But the other two Republican senators from traditionally moderate New England – Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins – are not supporting it, calling it overly broad.” [Boston Globe, 2/18/12]

2012: Ayotte Effectively Voted For The Blunt Amendment, Which Would Have Allowed Employers And Insurance Companies To Avoid ACA Requirements They Found Morally Objectionable. In March 2012, Ayotte effectively voted for the Blunt Amendment that, according to CNN Wire, “would establish that an entity refusing coverage on religious or moral grounds is not in violation of the law.” The vote was on a motion to table the amendment, with 48 senators voting against the motion – keeping the amendment alive – and 51 senators voting for the motion. [Senate Vote 24, 3/1/12; CNN Wire, 3/1/12]

Kelly Ayotte Said Roy Blunt was a friend and mentor:  At the Missouri Reagan-Lincoln Days, Ayotte was introduced by Roy Blunt and said, “Roy has been such a good friend and mentor to me, we got elected at the same time…..you are so fortunate to have such a strong conservative leader that represents Missouri, and represents you so well in our nation’s capital, I mean, Roy is a leader.  And I want to put it in a little perspective because in our Republican Caucus, he’s is in the leadership, but when Roy talks, people listen, and we all know that’s not just good for Missouri, but its good for the country. [American Bridge Tracking Footage 2/20/15]

Planned Parenthood

2011: Ayotte Voted For A Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood. In April 2011, Ayotte voted for prohibiting any funds appropriated in the recently-passed bill funding the government through the end of fiscal year 2011 from being made available to Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates. The vote was on a continuing resolution that, according to the Congressional Research Service, “[d]irect[ed] the Clerk of the House of Representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) to prohibit any funds under such Act from being made available to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.” That change would have been made prior to sending H.R. 1473 – which had already passed both the House and Senate – to the president. The Senate rejected the concurrent resolution by vote of 42 to 58. [Senate Vote 60,4/14/11; CRS Summary, H Con Res 36, 4/14/11]

Ayotte Voted For Eliminating FY2011 Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood. In March 2011, Ayotte voted for prohibiting any funds in the remainder of FY2011 from being used to fund Planned Parenthood. The provision was part of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government until the end of FY 2011 that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “would prohibit any funds in the bill from being made available to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or its affiliates.” The bill was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 44 to 56. The bill number was later used as the vehicle for another piece of legislation. [Senate Vote 36,3/9/11; Congressional Actions, H.R. 1; Congressional Quarterly, 3/1/11]

Hobby Lobby 

Ayotte Supported Ruling Hobby Lobby Decision On Contraception And Religion Freedom, Said Americans “Shouldn’t Be Forced To Comply With Government Mandates That Violate Core Principles Of Their Faith.” According to a press release issued by the Office Of New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, “U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) released the following statement today regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on religious liberty in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: ‘Americans shouldn’t be forced to comply with government mandates that violate core principles of their faith. This case is fundamentally a matter of religious freedom, and this ruling affirms Americans’ religious liberties as protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.’” [Office Of New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, 6/30/14]

Ayotte Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act

2012: Ayotte Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act. According to the Huffington Post, “The Senate failed to secure the 60 votes needed to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have required employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and women doing the same work are not gender-related. The bill also would have prohibited employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers, and would have required the Labor Department to increase its outreach to employers to help eliminate pay disparities. The final vote was 52-47, with all Republicans opposing the bill. That included female Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Susan Collins (Maine), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (Maine).” [Huffington Post, 6/5/12]

  • Ayotte: “Today’s Vote In The Senate Was Regrettably More About Politics During An Election Year Than About Good Policy.”According to Boston.com, “‘Today’s vote in the Senate was regrettably more about politics during an election year than about good policy,’ said a statement from Collilns [sic], Snowe, and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.” [Boston.com, 6/5/12]

2013: VIDEO: Ayotte Argued That Existing Pay Equity Laws Needed To Be Enforced Before New Laws Were Needed. According to ThinkProgress, “Women in full-time year-round jobs earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Yet, at a town hall earlier this week, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) claimed that Congress has done enough to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. Indeed, she justified her vote against legislation intended to prevent employers from dodging federal equal pay law with an excuse similar to the National Rifle Association’s explanation for why we do not need any more gun laws — we just need to enforce the ones we have: […] AYOTTE: We have existing laws — Title VII, um, Lilly Ledbetter, all those existing protections in place — that, I believe, enforce and provide that people doing equal jobs are, certainly in this country, should receive equal pay. So, uh, that bill, in my view, didn’t add — in fact I think it created a lot of additional burdens that would have been hard, um, to make it more difficult for job creators to create jobs. . . . The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced and can be enforced and I didn’t feel like adding that layer was going to help us better get at the equal pay issue.” [ThinkProgress, 5/2/13]


Supporting Wall Street

Dodd-Frank

Ayotte Called The Dodd-Frank Banking Law “Flawed.” According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, “The federal statute known as Dodd-Frank, which was signed into law by Obama in 2010 and is intended to promote financial stability by regulating Wall Street and consumer protection, was just one of the topics discussed during Ayotte’s visit. The senator called the statute ‘flawed,’ noting that it creates regulations that burden smaller banks who she said were not one of the driving factors in the recession period that has lead to today’s dismal economy. Ayotte said Dodd-Frank has allowed larger banks to ‘swallow up’ local, community banks because they can’t afford to comply with regulations.” [Foster’s Daily Democrat, 5/2/12]

  • Ayotte Believed Dodd-Frank Created Regulations That Burdened Smaller Banks Who Had Not Been The “Driving Factors In The Recession Period.” According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, “The senator called the statute ‘flawed,’ noting that it creates regulations that burden smaller banks who she said were not one of the driving factors in the recession period that has lead to today’s dismal economy. Ayotte said Dodd-Frank has allowed larger banks to ‘swallow up’ local, community banks because they can’t afford to comply with regulations.” [Foster’s Daily Democrat, 5/2/12]

2013: Ayotte Voted For Repealing Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act As Part Of The FY 2014 Ryan Budget. In March 2013, Ayotte voted for repealing the Dodd-Frank regulations for financial institutions, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2014 to 2023. According to the House Budget Committee, “This budget would end the bailout regime enshrined into law by the Dodd-Frank Act. The federal government must ensure financial markets are fair and transparent. And it must hold accountable those who violate the rules. But federal bureaucrats should not micromanage the system or protect Wall Street bankers from the risks they are taking.” The vote was on the House Republicans’ fiscal year 2014 budget resolution, which Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray offered as a substitute amendment to the Senate’s fiscal year 2014 budget resolution. The Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 40 to 59. [Senate Vote 46, 3/21/13; House Budget Committee, 3/12/13]

Ayotte’s Single Biggest Donor, Paul Singer, Was A Hedge Fund Executive Opposed To The CFPB. According to NH1, “State Democratic leaders criticized Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s move to stage a New York City fund-raiser today with a mega-donor who opposed Wall Street reforms. […] The sponsor of today’s event is Paul Singer, a hedge fund executive who has a history of opposing Wall Street reforms. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Singer is also Ayotte’s single biggest donor having given her more than $95,000 during her Senate career. ‘While Ayotte’s staunch opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may be popular with her Wall Street mega donors, New Hampshire voters will not forget that Ayotte sold us out to protect her Wall Street cronies,’ Buckley added.” [NH1, 3/31/15]


Outside Groups

Rove-Backed PAC Launched Radio Ad Campaign To Praise Ayotte, Vulnerable Republicans. According to USA Today, “A new non-profit group will launch radio ads Tuesday touting the work of three vulnerable Republican senators in New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania — the latest indication that allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will invest heavily to keep the chamber in GOP hands. The ads, which praise Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania for backing trade-promotion authority, are part of a $2 million ad buy from One Nation, an advocacy group tied to American Crossroads, a super PAC co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. The Senate voted last week to begin debate on the expedited process to get trade deals through Congress, despite opposition by some Democrats.” [USA Today, 5/19/15]

  • One Nation President Heads Up American Crossroads And Senate Leadership Fund. According to USA Today, “Law, a former McConnell top aide, sits at the center of the effort to help Republicans retain the Senate in 2016. He runs American Crossroads, a deep-pocketed super PAC, and serves as executive chairman of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC launched this year that is devoted solely to retaining the Senate majority. The Senate Leadership Fund aims to be the go-to destination for major Republican donors interested in Senate races as McConnell’s allies try to clamp down on the array of super PACs that cropped up in 2014 focused on individual races. ‘We’ve made no secret of the fact that candidate-specific super PACs tend to dissipate’ resources, Law told USA TODAY.” [USA Today, 5/19/15]

National Journal: Impact America Action, Group Tied To Former Ayotte Staffers, Spent $1 Million On Ads To Criticize Hassan. According to National Journal, “It adds up to a potentially dangerous situation for Republicans. Though Ayotte has done many things right to prepare for reelection, they say, New Hampshire’s tendency to sway with the national tide makes the seat vulnerable to a strong challenger, and Hassan is the Democrat who fits that mold. […] That is certainly the case since Impact America Action—an obscure outside group whose principals include former Ayotte strategists—placed a $1 million-plus TV ad buy criticizing Hassan’s spending proposals. The June purchase dwarfs any other non-presidential media buys 17 months out from Election Day.” [National Journal,6/17/15]

Ending Spending Action Fund’s Commitments Kept NH Planned To Spend More Than $4 Million To Support Ayotte’s Re-Election Effort

Singer, Ayotte’s Biggest Donor, Was Ending Spending’s Second Biggest Donor. According to OpenSecrets.org, Singer’s Elliott Management contributed $3.2 million to Ending Spending during the 2014 election cycle. [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 6/25/15] 

WMUR: Ending Spending Action Fund Planned To Surpass Its $4 Million 2014 Effort On Potential Ayotte-Hassan Race. According to WMUR, “A conservative super PAC that spent more than $4 million last year to oppose Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s successful re-election campaign is setting its sights – and money — on a potential 2016 U.S. Senate match-up between Gov. Maggie Hassan and incumbent Kelly Ayotte. WMUR.com has learned that the Ending Spending Action Fund on Wednesday will announce ‘Commitments Kept NH,’ an effort it says will include an aggressive grassroots component and a ‘multi-million dollar, multi-platform paid media effort, including television, radio and online advertising.’ The chief consultant for the project, veteran Republican strategist David Carney of Hancock, said the super PAC’s spending on the Senate race will likely surpass last year, particularly if Hassan is Ayotte’s Democratic opponent.” [WMUR, 6/23/15]

  • NH Democratic Party: “Washington Republicans Are Clearly Terrified That Kelly Ayotte Is Going To Lose.” According to WMUR, “The effort is being launched after two conservative issues advocacy groups attacked Hassan in television and radio ads this month. ‘Washington Republicans are clearly terrified that Kelly Ayotte is going to lose,’ said New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Aaron Jacobs, ‘and they should be. All the dark money in the world can’t hide the fact that as Ayotte continues to focus on playing the Washington game and looking out for her special interest backers, she’s completely turned her back on the people and business of New Hampshire,’ Jacobs said.” [WMUR, 6/23/15]
  • Ending Spending Planned To Run Its First Television Ad “Right After The Fourth Of July Weekend.” According to WMUR, “Carney told WMUR.comTuesday night that the first television ad of the effort will begin airing ‘right after the Fourth of July weekend.’ He said a grassroots field program is already underway, training activists, organizing field staff and going door-to-door. A website, CommitmentsKeptNH.com, was launched on Tuesday. ‘We have been working to identify people who vote in presidential years but don’t vote in mid-term elections,’ he said.” [WMUR, 6/23/15]

Education

Ayotte Voted To Block Amendment Lowering Student Loan Rates. According to The Hill, “Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an effort by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to attach an amendment aimed at lowering student loan rates to the budget. Senators voted 46-53 against Warren’s amendment to the Republican budget resolution. Warren’s amendment would have allowed people with college loan debt to refinance at interest rates from the 2013-2014 academic year. The Massachusetts Democrat, who is rejecting calls to run for president, said the move would allow undergraduates to refinance their loans to a 3.9 percent interest rate, with a ‘slightly higher’ rate for graduate students.” [The Hill, 3/25/15; Senate Roll Call, 3/25/15]


Medicare

2013: Ayotte Voted For Replacing Medicare With A Premium Support Plan As Part Of The FY 2014 Ryan Budget. In March 2013, Ayotte voted for replacing Medicare with a premium support plan, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2014 to 2023 According to the House Budget Committee, “Beginning in 2024, for those workers born in 1959 or later, Medicare would offer them a choice of private plans competing alongside the traditional fee-for-service option on a new Medicare Exchange. Medicare would provide a premium-support payment either to pay for or to offset the premium of the plan chosen by the senior.” The vote was on the House Republicans’ fiscal year 2014 budget resolution, which Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray offered as a substitute amendment to the Senate’s fiscal year 2014 budget resolution. The Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 40 to 59. [Senate Vote 46, 3/21/13; House Budget Committee, 3/12/13]

  • Ryan’s Budget Would Have Resulted In Increased Out-Of-Pocket Premiums For Seniors If The Cost Of Insurance Rose Quicker Than GDP Growth Plus 0.5 Percent.According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Since under the Ryan budget, Medicare would no longer make payments to health care providers such as doctors and hospitals, the only way to keep Medicare cost growth within the target of GDP growth plus one-half percentage point would be to limit the annual increase in the amount of the premium-support vouchers. As a result, the vouchers would purchase less coverage with each passing year, pushing more costs on to beneficiaries. Over time, seniors would have to pay more to keep the health plans and the doctors they like, or they would get fewer benefits.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/15/13]

2012: Ayotte Effectively Voted To Replace Medicare With A Premium Support Plan As Part Of The FY 2013 Ryan Budget. In May 2012, Ayotte effectively voted to replace Medicare with a premium support plan, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2013 to 2022 According to the House Budget Committee, “For those workers currently under the age of 55, beginning in 2023, those seniors would be given a choice of private plans competing alongside the traditional fee-for-service option on a newly created Medicare Exchange. Medicare would provide a premium-support payment either to pay for or offset the premium of the plan chosen by the senior.” The vote was on a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed budget resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 41 to 58. [Senate Vote 98, 5/16/12; House Budget Committee, 3/20/12; Congressional Actions, H.Con.Res. 112]

2011: Ayotte Effectively Voted For FY 2012 Ryan Budget, Which Replaced Medicare With A Premium Support Plan. In May 2011, Ayotte effectively voted for replacing Medicare with a premium support plan, as part of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget resolution covering fiscal years 2012 to 2021. According to the Congressional Research Service, “Under the new system, Medicare would pay a portion of the beneficiaries’ premiums, i.e., provide ‘premium support.’ The payments would be adjusted for age, health status, and income and would be paid directly by the government to the insurance plan selected by the Medicare beneficiary. In addition, plans with healthier enrollees, would be required to help subsidize plans with less healthy enrollees.” The vote was on a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed budget resolution, which the Senate rejected by a vote of 40 to 57. [Senate Vote 77, 5/25/11; CRS Report #R41767,4/13/11]

  • Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.”According to the Wall Street Journal, “Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington. […] The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program’s soaring costs.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]
  • Ryan’s Budget Eliminated Traditional Medicare And Created A Medicare Exchange On Which Seniors Could Purchase Private Plans.According to the Congressional Research Service, “Individuals who become eligible (based either on age or disability) for Medicare in 2022 and later years would not be able to enroll in the current Medicare program. Instead, they would be given the option of enrolling in a private insurance plan through a newly established Medicare exchange.” [CRS Report #R41767, 4/13/11]
  • Under Ryan’s Medicare Plan, Size Of Premium Support Payment Would Be Reduced In Line With Each Recipient’s Income.According to CBO, “The premium support payments [in the Ryan budget] would also vary with the income of the beneficiary. People in the top 2 percent of the annual income distribution of the Medicare-eligible population would receive 30 percent of the premium support amount described above; people in the next 6 percent of the distribution would receive 50 percent of the amount described above; and people in the remaining 92 percent of the distribution would receive the full premium support amount.” [CBO, 4/5/11]

Opposes Marriage Equality

2015: Ayotte Affirmed Her Support For “Traditional Marriage” After The Supreme Court’s Decision In Obergefell v. Hodges. According to a press release by the Office of New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, “U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte released the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges: ‘While I believe in traditional marriage, I respect the Court’s decision and I believe New Hampshire’s legally married same-sex couples should be treated equally under the law.’” [Office of New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, 6/26/15]

2013: Ayotte Supported The Defense Of Marriage Act. According to New Hampshire Public Radio, “The case is one of two related to same-sex marriage that went before the nation’s highest court this week. The other is challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. The law defines marriage between a man and a woman at the federal level. Ayotte says she supports the Defense of Marriage Act.” [NHPR, 3/28/13]

2010: Ayotte Supported Same-Sex Marriage Repeal Effort In New Hampshire. “I absolutely support and believe in marriage as between a man and a woman.  And I do think it’s unfortunate out state has made a different decision on that.  And I know many of you are out there working at the state level, running for state office, I commend your efforts to repeal that law here in the state of New Hampshire, and I think that’s very important.” [AFP/Cornerstone Action U.S. Senate Debate, 6/5/10]

Ayotte Opposed Same Sex Adoption In 2010 Senate Race. “Question: We know where everybody stands on the question of same sex marriage, but the question is, should same sex couples, in your opinion, have the same adoption rights as everyone else? Ayotte: Well, thank you for the question, Josh. I certainly support traditional marriage, and I think traditional families are what’s appropriate.  Question: Which would be no? Ayotte: That’s right.” [WMUR, 9/10/10]