June 24, 2018
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Contrary to rant, Susan Collins is a model of bipartisanship

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Susan Collins
By Kevin Kelley, Special to the BDN

If you’re going to launch a partisan attack in the newspaper, you’d think the first thing you’d do is check your facts. Instead, Chris Busby’s recent rant, ” Susan Collins masquerades as moderate,” is so full of factual errors and hostility that it actually makes responding difficult.

No matter what Busby asserts, the truth is nonpartisan sources frequently name U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the Senate’s most bipartisan member. She is recognized by her colleagues as someone who consistently shows independence and focuses on solving problems. Her determination is something that Mainers not only expect from her but respect about her.

Sen. Collins obviously has a different position on Obamacare than does Busby. She voted against the law and has repeatedly voted to reform, repeal and replace it. For example, she has authored a bill to fix the law’s perverse incentives for employers to reduce the 40-hour workweek and to hire fewer than 50 employees, which will harm hardworking American families.

Despite her concerns about Obamacare, Sen. Collins was outspoken in her caution to House Republicans, warning that tying the continued operation of government to the elimination of Obamacare funding was a flawed strategy that never would work and could cause real harm. That is why she refused to filibuster a short-term spending bill and, instead, voted to allow its consideration by the full Senate.

Sen. Collins is being lauded for having the courage to be the first senator to step up and offer a realistic solution to the recent government shutdown. She led by forming a bipartisan group of 14 senators, including independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine, that developed an actual plan to avoid default and end the shutdown, which was hurting so many Americans.

The final compromise, worked out between Senate leaders to reopen the government, actually included four of the six points upon which this group agreed. The senators’ plan also included a two-year delay of a new tax on medical devices, such as pacemakers and artificial knees. This tax drives up the cost of health care since it is passed on to consumers. An amendment to the budget to repeal it passed 79-20, demonstrating widespread bipartisan support. And Sen. Collins’ group figured out a way to fully offset the cost of the two-year delay, with a plan that extended pension provisions included in a previous law.

Americans are justifiably angry and frustrated at the failure of Congress and the president to work together to solve our nation’s problems. Despite hyperpartisan attacks such as Busby’s, the encouraging news is that Sen. Collins has proven she is committed to solutions that move our country forward. That’s what Mainers want. The bipartisan group she formed will continue to seek consensus on many of our nation’s other problems, including our unsustainable $17 trillion debt.

She and others like her fully understand that we need to move beyond partisan gridlock and work together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans who put their country first.

Kevin Kelley is communications director for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

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