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Senator Ayotte’s War On Women’s Health And Reproductive Rights

Senator Kelly Ayotte claims to be standing up for Granite State women but her votes on the “Blunt Amendment”, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood tell a very different tale.

Over the last five years in Washington, Sen. Ayotte voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including preventative care, birth control and cancer screenings.

She even submitted her own “women’s health” bill that women’s health experts called a “sham and an insult to women.” The bill would hurt women by making birth control more expensive–up to $600 more in out of pocket costs each year.

Increasing the cost of birth control does nothing to help women. When women are forced to pay more money out of pocket for their prescriptions, women lose while pharmaceutical companies line their pockets with their hard earned money.

So it comes as no surprise that Senator Ayotte has collected more than $200,000 dollars in campaign contributions from Big Pharma.

She also voted against allowing Americans to access safe and less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. She also blocked a measure that would help get more affordable generic drugs to market sooner.

“Kelly Ayotte has put her big pharma campaign backers ahead of the health of the people of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “We deserve a Senator who will put New Hampshire first, stand up to predatory pharmaceutical companies, and help increase access to affordable medications and health care overall.”

In addition to voting to defund Planned Parenthood six times, Ayotte has also voted to cut all funding to the Title X Family Planning Program, which helps fund 4,200 Family Planning Centers that provide access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and other preventive health care to many low-income women.

And Ayotte opposes a woman’s right to choose. She said, “I certainly believe that Roe [v. Wade] should be overturned,” and cosponsored a plan which would have allowed employers to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.

Some have speculated that Ayotte’s failure to do her job and confirm a new Supreme Court Justice is because she is waiting for Donald Trump to nominate a justice who will overturn Roe v Wade.

Kelly Tries To Deceive Voters About Her Support Of Women’s Health On The Campaign Trail

Kelly Ayotte’s campaign continues to perpetuate the myth that she supports women’s health care. When confronted about her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood, Kelly Ayotte has the same pivot –– that she’d redirect money to community health centers. But there are a few major problems with her canned response.

First, Ayotte has repeatedly voted against federal funds to support community health centers. She repeatedly voted against the Affordable Care Act that provided $11B over five years to support Community Health Centers across the nation.

Second, Planned Parenthood health centers serve an outsized role in meeting the family planning needs for those who rely on federally-funded health programs.

A recent report found that in the 491 counties served by a Planned Parenthood clinic, “Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all American women who receive birth control from safety-net clinics. In one-fifth of these counties, a Planned Parenthood site is the only family planning center for clients who rely on subsidized help.”

The report also found that, “Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of publicly supported safety-net family planning centers, they serve 36% of clients who obtain publicly supported contraceptive services from such centers.”

“Kelly Ayotte has spent six years voting to restrict access to women’s health care. Now that she’s up for reelection, she’s trying to moderate. The fact is that Ayotte’s votes against Title X funding and the ACA, have not only jeopardized care at Planned Parenthood health centers, they also aimed to restrict access to care for women and low-income families at the very Community Health Centers she claims to support. Granite Staters can see right through Kelly Ayotte’s election year politics,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund.

This week, Maggie for NH released a new ad, “Six Times,” highlighting the six times Ayotte has voted against Granite State women by voting against Planned Parenthood.

“Kelly Ayotte has a long record of standing with her political party at the expense of Granite State families, and her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and jeopardize access to critical health services including cancer screenings and birth control are yet another example,” said Maggie for NH Press Secretary Meira Bernstein. “Maggie Hassan believes that it’s unacceptable that politicians in Washington are still playing politics with women’s health care, and in the Senate, she will fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health decisions and to safely and affordably access health care.”

The Trump/Ayotte Ticket

Now Ayotte may not be endorsing Donald Trump for President, though she says she will vote for him, they are walking hand-in-hand attacking women’s health and reproductive rights.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump announced his support for Ayotte’s “sham” contraceptive bill that would force women to pay up to $600 more for their birth control prescriptions.

“Donald Trump’s support for (or is it an endorsement of?) Kelly Ayotte’s plan to make birth control more expensive makes it crystal clear that when it comes to undermining women’s healthcare Ayotte and Trump are in perfect agreement,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “New Hampshire women and people of all genders who care about access to affordable healthcare will reject this toxic ticket in the fall and send both Trump and Ayotte packing.”


More facts on Senator Ayotte’s war on women:

FACT: Ayotte has voted repeatedly to repeal the requirement that health insurance cover birth control without a copay.

FACT: At the urging of the Koch Brothers’ political arm, Kelly Ayotte voted to slash $1.3 billion from community health centers nationwide. This same bill would have also eliminated 750 community health center jobs in just New Hampshire.

FACT: The bill Ayotte touts regarding mammograms is dependent on the preventative care protections in the Affordable Care Act which Ayotte has voted five times to repeal. If Kelly Ayotte gets her way, 285,949 New Hampshire women will lose the guarantee that their insurance will cover preventative services like mammograms with no out of pocket costs.

FACT: Ayotte co-sponsored and voted for a measure that would have given employers the right to refuse insurance coverage for their employees of any medical treatments or services they disagree with–including birth control. This bill was opposed by the American Cancer Society because it would allow bosses to deny their employees coverage for important preventive health services.

FACT: On at least three different occasions, Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness legislation to ensure that women are paid equally for equal work.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, women make 76 cents for every dollar earned by men in New Hampshire. The numbers are worse for minority women: African American women earn 65 cents and Latinas 70 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

“Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness a whole bunch of times. And then, just for kitten-heel kicks, she and some of her fellow lady Republicans introduced their own adorable “Equal Pay” bill, which wouldn’t actually strengthen equal pay laws so much as weaken them by creating extra loopholes for employers. It’s like the same thing, only different,” wrote Kaili Joy Gray for Wonkette.

For Three Years, Ayotte Refused to Meet with Gun Violence Prevention Advocates In-State, So Two of Them Flew to Washington DC to Talk with Her

NH advocate, gun violence survivor attend “Coffee with Kelly” in Washington DC, ask Ayotte to meet with constituents about gun violence prevention; Meeting took place just one day before NH voters barred from Ayotte campaign town hall for wearing gun violence prevention t-shirts

WASHINGTON, DC – Gun violence survivor Clai Lasher-Sommers of Westmoreland and gun violence prevention advocate Sonia Prince of Nashua flew to Washington, DC last Thursday to attend U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s weekly constituent ‘Coffee with Kelly’ after Ayotte has refused to meet with gun violence prevention advocates in New Hampshire despite several requests over the last three years.

“Senator Ayotte sided with the gun lobby over the 89 percent of her constituents who support common sense background checks, and she’s avoided meetings about it ever since,” said Prince, a mother of three whose children attend school in the same district as Ayotte’s own children. “I told her that every time I buzz into the school I think of mass shootings, and that it’s sad our children are coming home concerned because they did a shooting drill at school. We need to take action to end gun violence.”

Lasher-Sommers, a gun violence survivor who was shot in the back when she was just 13 years old and who has become an outspoken advocate on gun violence prevention, talked to Ayotte about her personal experience and the need to close the background checks loophole and the terror gap.

“This is the second time I’ve been in Washington DC to meet with Senator Ayotte during a Coffee with Kelly this year,” said Lasher-Sommers. “It was the first time I felt that she really listened, although she did not make any commitments regarding future votes or conversations. I delivered a letter from Granite State Progress and other organizations asking the Senator to host a gun violence prevention town hall – a request that has been made for the past three years and echoed by many of her constituents – and offered my assistance in pulling it together. The public is ahead of politicians on gun violence prevention measures, and Senator Ayotte needs to sit down and hear directly from her constituents even if they do not have the time or funds to travel to Washington, DC.”

Lasher-Sommers and Prince said the meeting was a cordial one. The women are members of Granite State Progress and several other organizations working to reduce gun violence. The letter they delivered is a request for Ayotte to host a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention; Granite State Progress first issued the call on April 30, 2013 after Ayotte hosted three poorly publicized town halls where moderators such as former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley publicly admitted to screening out questions regarding Sen. Ayotte’s vote against background checks and the 89% of her constituents who support them. Granite State Progress, OFA-NH, Project for Safer Communities, and other organizations have re-issued the call during August Congressional recesses since then, and Granite State Progress members additionally host periodic coffee sit-ins in the Senator’s district offices to highlight her absence and remind her of the meeting request. Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Brady Campaign joined in the call for a town hall this year. For 3 years, 4 months, and 15 days, Ayotte has refused and additionally has avoided constituents’ requests for meetings on gun violence prevention.

On Friday, New Hampshire voters were barred from an Ayotte campaign town hall because they were wearing t-shirts promoting gun violence prevention.

moms-demand-action

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Ayotte’s constituents shouldn’t have to fly to Washington, DC to talk with her about issues of national concern. We appreciate her new support to help close the terror gap just months after voting against it, but if Ayotte wants us to truly believe that she is interested in gun violence prevention and not just election year posturing she can prove it by accepting our invitation to meet with survivors of gun violence and the family members of victims, advocates, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, mental health advocates, and responsible gun owners.”

Gun Violence Prevention Advocate Barred From Senator Ayotte’s Town Hall

Kelly Ayotte’s Staff Also Barred A Constituent From Attending “Town Hall” Meeting Advertised on Government Website  

Concord, N.H. — Kelly Ayotte held a “town hall” meeting today that was advertised on the town of Amherst’s government website, but her staff barred a New Hampshire resident from attending.

Despite both the Amherst town website making no mention of this event requiring a ticket and the event’s location in a public building, Ayotte’s staff made excuses to bar her constituent from attending this publicly advertised “town hall.”

You can watch video of the citizen being removed from this public event HERE.

“For Kelly Ayotte to bar a constituent from this public event shows a contempt for New Hampshire citizens that’s only matched by her voting record in Washington,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “This is just the latest example of Ayotte refusing to do her job and be accountable to the people who elected her to office and pay her salary with their hard-earned tax dollars.”

At another “Town Hall” event in Kingston, Senator Ayotte’s staff refused to allow Deb Howard to enter because she was wearing a “Moms Demand Action” T-shirt.

Granite State Progress and other gun violence prevention advocates having been calling on Senator Ayotte to hold a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention.

Ayotte continues to ignore their requests and now is blocking constituents from attending local town halls.

Earth Day 2016: An In Depth Look At Climate Change And NH’s Congressional Delegation

Happy Earth Day

Where New Hampshire’s Elected Representatives Stand On Combating Climate Change 

Today we celebrate the “46th anniversary of the 1st Earth Day, in which 20 million Americans–Democrats and Republicans–took to the streets to rally for a healthy, sustainable future and demonstrated against the deterioration of the environment” said Catherine Corkery, Executive Director of the NH Sierra Club.

“Unfortunately, today the bipartisan spirit of the original Earth Day has been lost, even as the evidence mounts that not only is our planet experiencing Climate Change on an unprecedented scale, but that everyday Americans care deeply about laying the foundation for a sustainable future for their children and grandchildren,” continued Corkery.

Across the nation Democrats have been pushing for better regulations to protect our natural resources and reverse the effects of Climate Change on our planet.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have rejected scientific proof of the effects of Climate Change and have pushed legislation to further strip away our natural resources.

“In 2014 Politifact looked at the 278 Republicans in Congress and found that only 8 had publicly accepted climate change science” state Corkery.

“As a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, I’ve spent years studying climate change’s impact on the Granite State and I can tell you this without a doubt: climate change is the gravest threat facing our state, country and planet today” said UNH Environmental Science Professor Barrett Rock.

“Persistently high temperatures are causing the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica to melt at an accelerated pace, causing rising sea levels on the Seacoast and presenting a major threat to New Hampshire’s economy,” added Rock.

What are we to do? Is there anything that can stop this global trend that will eventually eradicate life on Earth as we know it?

“We need to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind, implement energy efficiency measures and start weaning ourselves off high carbon use. We need to use treaties like the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Rock advised. “We need to elect public servants who not only recognize that climate change is a clear and pressing danger, but who are willing to actually do something about it.”

Currently New Hampshire has two Democrats and two Republicans representing us in Washington D.C. The two groups could not be further apart on climate issues.

 

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte3This week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) wrote an op-ed for the Nashua Telegraph claiming, “Earth Day should be every day.”

Ayotte tries to make the case that because she likes hiking and running through Mines Falls Park that she is hero to the environment. The truth is that she has been working to repeal environmental protections since she took office in 2011.

In 2011, Ayotte voted for legislation the League of Conservation Voters called at the time “the greatest legislative assault ever on the environment” after the Koch Brothers political arm urged senators to do so. The bill included the “virtual elimination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” the premier fund dedicated to preserving land and water sites across the United States for both conservation and recreation.

And when it comes to air pollution, Ayotte voted for an amendment that would “repeal the scientific finding by the EPA that greenhouse gases endanger human health and the environment,” and permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, again after the Koch Brothers’ political arm urged senators to do so. During her first 4 years in Washington, Ayotte voted with the Koch Brothers nearly 90% of the time.

“Kelly Ayotte’s political spin is out of line with the reality of her true environmental voting record and not fooling anyone,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “New Hampshire voters know that Ayotte has consistently stood with special interest backers like the Koch Brothers against protecting our planet and conserving New Hampshire’s natural resources. Her attempts to pretend otherwise fly in the face of reality.”

Ayotte is facing fierce competition from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan for her seat in the Senate. Hassan is a strong proponent of green energy and taking immediate action to combat Climate Change.

As a State Senator, and now as Governor, Hassan has pushed for New Hampshire to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to lower carbon pollution.

“From sponsoring New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and helping pass the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard in the State Senate, to signing legislation to strengthen those efforts and establish a long-term Energy Strategy as Governor, Maggie Hassan has always been a strong champion for New Hampshire’s environment,” said Campaign Communications Director Aaron Jacobs.

“Under Governor Hassan, New Hampshire was ranked among the top 5 states for renewable energy,” said NH State Senator David Watters.

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Shaheen-021109-18432- 0009This week, Senator Shaheen (D-NH) celebrated a significant environmental win as the Senate finally passed the Shaheen-Portman Comprehensive Energy Efficiency bill, which was introduced in the Senate over five year ago. The bill pushes for expanded use of green energy solutions to address our growing energy problems and works to reverse the effects of Climate Change.

The Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, identifies and addresses obstacles limiting the use of clean energy technologies, thereby reducing energy costs and improving the power quality and resiliency of the electric grid. Specifically, the legislation directs the Department of Energy to identify the technical and regulatory barriers to integrating clean distributed energy sources on the grid, and to strive to overcome these barriers through research, stakeholder working groups and demonstrations.

Shaheen has put Climate Change and protecting the environment at the top of her legislative agenda. She recently praised the Paris Summit to address Climate Change.

“This agreement is an unprecedented achievement and affirms New Hampshire’s leadership reducing carbon emissions,” said Shaheen. “‎The United States must capitalize on this success and continue to lead by supporting stronger policies that speed the transition to a clean energy economy.‎ We owe it to our children and grandchildren to start today so we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change, while building strong communities resilient to the changes already underway.”

 

Congressman Frank Guinta

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

In the US House, Congressman Frank Guinta (R-01) is one of the many climate deniers in the US House. Guinta denies Climate Change science that has the support of 97% of the scientific community. “I’m not sure the science is accurate or complete on this issue,” Guinta said.  As a politician who has received major funding from the Big Oil and the Koch Brothers he would know better than 97% of the scientific community.

During the 2014 GOP Primary Congressman Guinta was videotaped saying “No” to the question, “Do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?”

During Guinta’s time in office he voted to expand drilling rights on the outer continental shelf, block the EPA from regulating Greenhouse Gases, license new nuclear plants, and supported the Keystone Pipeline.

Guinta even went as far to oppose any legislation relating to Climate Change.

 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster

Ann kuster head shot LGNot everyone in Washington believes that Climate Change is a hoax.

In 2013, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) took a bold stance to push for more action addressing Climate Change.

“We have a fundamental responsibility to confront the challenge of climate change head on – for the health of our environment, the strength of our economy, and the future of our children. I am eager to partner with members of both parties to take responsible, common sense steps that will reduce carbon emissions, make America more energy independent, and advance the development of renewable energy sources. Inaction on these fronts is simply not an option.”

Kuster continues to push back against proposals that will harm our environment like the Northeast Energy Direct (Kinder-Morgan NED) pipeline.

Yesterday, Kinder-Morgan announced they would no longer pursue the construction of the NED pipeline.

Kuster was overjoyed to hear the news.

“I was proud to lead the fight against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, which, after countless site visits, forums, and meetings with constituents, I deemed a poor deal for New Hampshire – both for our natural environment and the safety of our neighborhoods.  While we must pursue smart energy policies that lower energy costs for New Hampshire, this particular project would have taken advantage of our natural resources without providing sufficient benefits for our state,” said Kuster.

Earth Day 2016

Earth Day - No YearThis Earth Day we need to look at who is representing us in Washington and what they are doing to reverse the effects of Climate Change. We need local and national policy changes that work to clean our air and reserve all of our natural resources for generations to come. As the 2016 elections are quickly approaching we must use our voices by electing representative who will make positive change in Washington, not work to repeal all of the environmental gains we have made in the last 46 years since the first Earth Day.

Ayotte Skipped Nearly Half Of Her Committee Meetings On Substance Abuse And Homeland Security

Ayotte Confirms She Skipped Hearings on Substance Abuse & National Security While Making Time for Campaign Fundraiser, Other Unspecified “Conflicts” 

Ayotte Pressed on Missing 47% of Homeland Security Committee Meetings, Including 45% on Border Security, Two-Thirds on Drug Trafficking 

Concord, N.H. – WMUR reported today on Kelly Ayotte’s skipped hearings, noting that Ayotte confirmed that while she skipped several hearings on national security and substance abuse, she made time for campaign fundraisers and other unknown “scheduling conflicts.” 

WMUR reported: “Ayotte missed a hearing that focused on ‘curbing prescription drug abuse’ on June 24, 2013 before her campaign held a fundraiser for the telecommunications industry…. a month earlier, on May 13, 2013, Ayotte missed a hearing on the nomination of a new deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Ayotte was listed as a co-host earlier that day for a National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraiser lunch in New York City.”

Two other missed hearings mentioned by the WMUR report include a May 14, 2014 Homeland Security Hearing related to chemical facilities anti-terrorism standards and another Homeland Security Committee Hearing on October 28, 2015 to assess the state of America’s biodefense. Ayotte’s campaign failed to disclose what “scheduling conflicts” kept the Senator from these hearings on the United States’ national security. 

This report comes on the heels of a story in Politico that revealed that Ayotte missed 47% of Homeland Security Committee Meetings, including 45% of those on border security and two-thirds on drug trafficking.

“Skipping hearings while making time to attend fundraisers shows just how much Kelly Ayotte is willing to put her special interest backers and party leaders before the people of New Hampshire who elected her to do her job,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “It’s troubling that Ayotte found time to fundraise for her reelection campaign while skipping hearings focused on protecting public health and safety. The people of the Granite State deserve better.”

The Ayotte-Trump Agenda: Criminalizing Abortion Edition

Ayotte-Trump Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday Donald Trump announced that women in this country should be “punished” if they get an abortion — before recanting, using the same language anti-choice groups have been using for years to whitewash their true agenda, which is taking away a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions and control her own body. But the truth is that Donald Trump’s comments only pulled back the curtain on what the GOP has already been doing for years: punishing women through draconian laws and restrictions on their right to have an abortion. Republicans can try to spin that reality any way they want, but they can’t deny the truth. Punishing women is and always has been the point of their extreme policies. Despite all of this, vulnerable Republican Kelly Ayotte still refuses to denounce Trump or say she won’t support him as the Republican nominee putting the extreme anti-woman agenda they both share into the spotlight.

“Donald Trump is leading the GOP charge to prevent women from making their own health care decisions,” said EMILY’s List Communications Director Marcy Stech. “First Ayotte and Trump supported an unconstitutional abortion ban that would criminalize doctors, and now she’s standing by the Republican frontrunner who said he wants to ‘punish’ women who get abortions. Elections matter, and Kelly Ayotte is linking arms with Donald Trump at the expense of New Hampshire women and families.” 

The Ayotte-Trump Agenda

Both Trump and Ayotte Supported An Abortion Ban. Trump supported a national abortion ban and said pro-choice policies “goes against our core values.” In September 2015, Ayotte voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that “would have banned abortion nationwide after 20 weeks ‘post-fertilization,’ or about 22 weeks’ gestation […] Opponents of HR 36 attacked the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional; violates the rights of women in desperate situations, including rape and incest victims; and threatens doctors with criminal penalties for trying to do what’s best for their patients […] Opponents of HR 36 attacked the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional; violates the rights of women in desperate situations, including rape and incest victims; and threatens doctors with criminal penalties for trying to do what’s best for their patients […] Under the GOP-backed bill, rape and incest victims would have to further delay abortion care by seeking counseling from doctors who do not perform abortions, or who do not even share an office with a doctor who does. Incest victims under the age of 18 would also have to file a police report.” The bill failed in the Senate 54-42 with 51 GOP voting for it. [HR 36, Vote #268, 9/22/15; RH Reality Check, 9/22/15; CBN News, 7/22/15]

Both Trump and Ayotte Opposed Raising the Minimum Wage. During the fourth Republican presidential debate, Trump insisted that wages were “too high,” and he was opposed to raising the minimum wage. In 2014 and 2015 Ayotte voted against increasing the federal minimum wage. [New York Times, 11/11/15; S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14; S.Con.Res.11, Vote 93, 3/26/15]

Both Trump and Ayotte Would Deny Women Equal Pay At an October 2015 convention in New Hampshire, Trump said of equal pay, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Ayotte has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times. In June 2012, Ayotte voted against a procedural vote to move forward with S. 3220, Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (also known as the Equal Pay Act), “to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would require a clarification in reasons for differences in wages paid to men and women doing the same work. The motion was rejected 52-47. In April 2014, Ayotte voted against a motion to address the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to Congressional Quarterly the vote was a “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would require employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications and in similar jobs have a business justification. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information and authorize the Labor secretary to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. The bill also would require the Labor Department to provide training and collect wage information.” The motion was rejected by a vote of 53-44. In September 2014, Ayotte voted against a bill to strengthen federal equal pay laws for women. In March 2015, Ayotte voted against Senator Mikulski’s proposal to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to amending the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to allow for punitive damages, limit the any factor ‘other than sex’ exception, and prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information.” The amendment failed 45-54. [S. 3220Vote #115, 6/05/12; S 2199Vote #103, 4/09/14; S. 2199, Vote #262, 9/15/14; S. Con. Res. 11, Vote #82, 3/24/15]

On Sixth Anniversary, Affordable Care Act Providing Granite Staters with Access to Vital Care

obamacare ApprovedAyotte, Guinta, Washington Republicans Working to Repeal Life-Saving Law, Kick 50,000+ Granite Staters off Their Healthcare

Concord, N.H. –Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law six years ago today, hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters have been helped by quality, affordable health insurance and countless others have benefitted from other provisions of the law.

From making sure that people with pre-existing conditions are able to get care and preventing women from being charged more for their insurance, to allowing young people to stay on their parents’ plans, delivering preventative care coverage, and expanding Medicaid for almost 50,000 people in New Hampshire, the Affordable Care Act has made a real difference in the lives of families across the Granite State.

Despite all of these important improvements in access to care for New Hampshire families, Kelly Ayotte, Frank Guinta, and Washington Republicans remain committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act, a move that would also end New Hampshire’s successful bipartisan Medicaid Expansion, kicking almost 50,000 Granite Staters out of their insurance. Experts say that this expansion is a vital tool in the fight against the deadly substance abuse epidemic ravaging the state.

Some key numbers about the Affordable Care Act’s impact in New Hampshire:

·      Under the Affordable Care Act, New Hampshire’s uninsured rate has fallen 5 points to 8.8%.

·      As many as 597,050 Granite Staters with preexisting conditions are now prohibited from being denied coverage—this includes 68,589 Granite State children.

·      545,000 New Hampshire residents benefit from the elimination of lifetime and annual caps on coverage.

·      58,876 more people in New Hampshire are covered under Medicaid or CHIP since the start of the Health Insurance Marketplace first open enrollment.

·      54,519 Granite Staters received rebates from their insurance companies last year because under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to provide rebates if the amount they spend on health benefits is too low as opposed to marketing.

·      191,570 Medicare beneficiaries in New Hampshire benefit from access to preventative care like cancer screenings without any out-of-pocket cost.

·      Approximately 1,700 Granite Staters accessed substance abuse treatment in 2015 through New Hampshire’s Medicaid Expansion, made possible through the Affordable Care Act. 

“Six years ago today, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, literally saving lives and dramatically improving access to health care for countless Granite Staters,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Yet Washington Republicans like Kelly Ayotte and Frank Guinta want to pull the rug out from under vulnerable people by repealing this law and taking away their access to affordable health care. I thank our Democratic elected officials for their leadership in making this law a reality and their continued efforts to improve healthcare access and delivery for all.” 

ICYMI: Outrage Continues Over Kelly Ayotte’s Obstruction of Supreme Court Nomination

CONCORD – As outrage continues over Kelly Ayotte’s obstruction of a Supreme Court nomination, Dartmouth College Professor Randall Balmer asked this weekend in a Valley News op-ed, “What part of the Constitution does Ayotte not understand?” 

Meanwhile, conservative columnist George Will wrote, “The Republican Party’s incoherent response to the Supreme Court vacancy is a partisan reflex in search of a justifying principle.”

From Professor Balmer’s Valley News Op-Ed:

…Grassley, Ayotte and their colleagues should care about the judgment of history — if not for themselves, for the sake of the nation.

…Ayotte, a lawyer and former attorney general of New Hampshire, presumably has at least a passing acquaintance with the Constitution, yet she has so far cast her lot with Republican obstructionists. “We’re in the midst of a consequential presidential election year, and Americans deserve an opportunity to weigh in given the significant implications this nomination could have for the Supreme Court and our country for decades to come,” Ayotte said shortly after Antonin Scalia’s death. “I believe the Senate should not move forward with the confirmation process until the American people have spoken by electing a new president.”

If I’m not mistaken, voters have already spoken, twice — in 2008 and again in 2012. What part of the Constitution does Ayotte not understand?

Once again, let’s imagine a different approach. Suppose New Hampshire had a senator willing to stand against the stubborn culture of obstruction. Suppose Ayotte were willing to reject McConnell’s culture of No!

…The people of New Hampshire are not asking their senator for heroism on that scale, just a willingness to stand up to obstructionism and discharge her constitutional responsibilities.

That does not mean, of course, that Ayotte would be obligated to support President Obama’s nominee. Not at all. It means only that she would fulfill her duties regardless of the political rancor she might incur from fellow Republicans. Even such a modest effort in these fraught political times counts as an act of courage.

Like Chuck Grassley, Kelly Ayotte’s rendezvous with history has arrived. She can be remembered as simply another political hack, like Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid, or she can be remembered as a leader, one who faced down the rabid partisans in Congress and said, “Enough! I intend to lead, not stumble blindly along the pathway of political obstruction in the name of party loyalty.”

New Hampshire and the nation await her decision.

From Conservative Commentator George Will’s Washington Post Column:

The Republican Party’s incoherent response to the Supreme Court vacancy is a partisan reflex in search of a justifying principle. The multiplicity of Republican rationalizations for their refusal to even consider Merrick B. Garland radiates insincerity.

…In their tossed salad of situational ethics, the Republicans’ most contradictory and least conservative self-justification is: The court’s supposedly fragile legitimacy is endangered unless the electorate speaks before a vacancy is filled. The preposterous premise is that the court will be “politicized” unless vacancies are left vacant until a political campaign registers public opinion about, say, “Chevron deference.”

…Republicans who vow to deny Garland a hearing and who pledge to support Donald Trump if he is their party’s nominee are saying: Democracy somehow requires that this vacancy on a non-majoritarian institution must be filled only after voters have had their say through the election of the next president. And constitutional values will be served if the vacancy is filled not by Garland but by someone chosen by President Trump, a stupendously uninformed dilettante who thinks judges “sign” what he refers to as “bills.” There is every reason to think that Trump understands none of the issues pertinent to the Supreme Court’s role in the American regime, and there is no reason to doubt that he would bring to the selection of justices what he brings to all matters — arrogance leavened by frivolousness.

Trump’s multiplying Republican apologists do not deny the self-evident — that he is as clueless regarding everything as he is about the nuclear triad. These invertebrate Republicans assume that as president he would surround himself with people unlike himself — wise and temperate advisers. So, we should wager everything on the hope that the man who says his “number one” foreign policy adviser is “myself” (because “I have a very good brain”) will succumb to humility and rely on people who actually know things. If Republicans really think that either their front-runner or the Democrats’ would nominate someone superior to Garland, it would be amusing to hear them try to explain why they do.

Kelly Ayotte’s Performance Review: “New Hampshire Deserves Better”

Concord, N.H. – Not only have editorial boards had scathing words for Kelly Ayotte’s partisan blockade of the Supreme Court (see the Concord MonitorNashua TelegraphPortsmouth HeraldKeene SentinelValley News, and Coos County Democrat), but recent letters to the editor have strongly condemned her obstructionism and refusal to do her constitutional duty. 

See below for a few highlights:  

 “By Kelly Ayotte announcing that she will back Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz in their plan to refuse to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, she has been clear that she places party leadership ahead of the people of New Hampshire, and ahead of her constitutional duty as our senator.” – Ann Heffernon, North Swanzey

 “I’m glad Sen. Ayotte has shown her true colors and made clear to all N.H. voters that she will align with her party even though this position is clearly unethical and unprecedented. She has helped us to see the real stakes in the upcoming presidential and senate elections.” – Scott Marion, Rye

It seems that she feels what is important to the Republican party is more important than what is important to our country.” – Richard Friedman, Bedford

“Where the heck do Kelly Ayotte and other Republican senators, and even presidential candidates, get off saying that they won’t even consider any nominations put forward by a sitting president for a Supreme Court justice. That’s part of their job! Where I come from, if an employee refuses to perform one of the requirements set forward in a written job description, they are fired.” – Lucy Natkiel, Hill

 “I hope that Sen. Ayotte will remember her pledge to preserve and protect the constitution and reconsider her position that she refuses to carry out her responsibility as a United States senator. New Hampshire deserves better and Justice Scalia deserves better.” – Marjorie Smith, Durham

 “Once again, Sen. Kelly Ayotte has demonstrated her total disregard for the will of the New Hampshire electorate.” – Rich DiPentima, Portsmouth

“Kelly Ayotte has once again demonstrated her membership in the ‘my way or the highway gang’ by joining Mitch McConnell and the other obstructionist Republicans in pandering to their base rather than respecting the majority of voters, the founding fathers and the Constitution. We won’t forget that in November.” – Cynthia Muse, Rye

The dysfunction in Washington now is much worse than in 1988, and Republicans like McConnell and Kelly Ayotte continue to fight in lockstep against the opposition party without regard to all the people they represent… the total absence of a compromising tone in the rhetoric we have heard so far from McConnell, Republican presidential candidates and others is extremely disappointing.” – Richard Foss, Webster

 

I am very disappointed that Kelly Ayotte has fallen into the obstructionist camp, refusing to honor and act on President Obama’s constitutional duty to appoint a Supreme Court nominee.” – Judi Garfinkle, Lancaster

 

“Ayotte, not satisfied with obstructing the government, the Senate, and the president’s foreign policy, now wants to obstruct the Supreme Court. She has now decided to extend her obstruction by not even allowing a hearing on the president’s Supreme Court nominee.” – Bob Bettilyon, Hollis

 

“She has meekly lined up with the radical Republicans in the Senate stating that the Senate will not even hold a hearing on any Supreme Court nominee that President Obama sends to them for consideration. It is the president’s duty to nominate someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court when one occurs. It is the Senate’s duty to receive that nomination, hold hearings on the nominee’s qualifications to hold that office, and to vote on that nomination. To do otherwise is to shirk their responsibilities, something this Senate has shown a remarkable penchant for doing.” – Dick de Seve, Gilmanton

We can’t wait a year – the Senate needs to do its job and act on Obama’s nomination now. Please write to Sen. Kelly Ayotte and ask her to support a vote on the Supreme Court vacancy.” – Joe O’Neill, Amherst   

“Sen. Kelly Ayotte: You and the GOP congressional leadership insult the memory of Justice Scalia and his respect for the Constitution.” — Ken Williams, Canterbury

“Senator, you were elected to do a job just as President Barack Obama was elected to do a job. Moreover, as a United States senator elected by the people of the State of New Hampshire, you have a constitutional obligation to do that job.”  — Patrick Wood, Laconia

“Refusing to consider a nominee for no good reason – just because of party politics – is irresponsible. By taking the stance that no nominee from the sitting president will be given any consideration at all, those taking that stand are really saying that their political party comes before the best interests of the country.” – Jay Diener, Hampton

“By blindly following other obstructionist colleagues in the Senate, Ayotte is not the new voice she once promised to be, but one of the rabid-dog types who try to stop any positive movement in Washington.” – J. Larry Brown, Lancaster

Hassan Goes On The Offense Against Ayotte On Protecting Women’s Rights

WMUR: Hassan Says Ayotte Has ‘Consistently Voted To Undermine’ Women’s Right To Choose

CONCORD — While Kelly Ayotte has repeatedly voted against the health and economic well-being of New Hampshire’s women and families, Governor Maggie Hassan has always fought to expand opportunity for New Hampshire families and to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions — and Maggie will continue to fight tirelessly for these critical priorities in the United States Senate.

Click here for the full WMUR story or see excerpts below:

WMUR: New Hampshire Primary Source: Hassan says Ayotte has ‘consistently voted to undermine’ women’s right to choose

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday reiterated her support for Roe V. Wade on the 43rd anniversary of the landmark decision affirming the legality of a woman’s right to choose. At the same time, Hassan sharply criticized U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her opposition to the decision and for her support for defunding Planned Parenthood.

… In a statement provided first to WMUR.com, Hassan said Ayotte has “consistently voted to undermine” a women’s right to choose.

“As we celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, it’s critical that we redouble our efforts to ensure that women and families can make their own choices and stand up against attacks on women’s health care,” Hassan said.

“A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is a matter of freedom, and it’s also a matter of economics. When women have to pay more for their health care, including paying out of pocket for contraception, or aren’t given the freedom to decide when to start a family, it creates a significant economic strain.”

“And that is why it’s so troubling that Kelly Ayotte has consistently voted to undermine a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.”

Hassan continued, “From her belief that Roe v. Wade ‘should be overturned’ to her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and her support for allowing employers to deny women coverage for birth control, Sen. Ayotte has repeatedly voted against the health and economic well-being of New Hampshire’s women and families.”

“As governor, I have always fought to expand opportunity for New Hampshire families and to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I will continue to fight tirelessly for these critical priorities in the United States Senate.”

Hassan’s campaign pointed out that while campaigning for the Senate in 2010, Ayotte said she Roe V. Wade “should be overturned,” and that she voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood between 2011 and late 2015.

The Hassan campaign also pointed out that Ayotte in 2012 voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would have expanded exemptions to the Obama administration’s rule requiring birth control coverage to allow not only religious groups but employers with moral objections to opt out.

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