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GOP Address: Sen. Ayotte Calls for Bipartisan Cooperation on Fiscal Cliff

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  With the threat of the fiscal cliff quickly approaching, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers have voiced ideas about how to avoid the Jan. 1 deadline, when automatic tax hikes for all Americans and deep government spending cuts are set to take effect. In this week's Republican address, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte criticizes Washington for "ducking the tough decisions," but says the critical fiscal cliff represents a new opportunity for both parties to change the country's "irresponsible spending path."

"And one thing is clear: the American people expect Republicans and Democrats to work together to solve the difficult challenges we face," Ayotte says, referring to the "spirited debate" over the federal budget that played out over the last year by members of both parties.

"For too long, partisan bickering has paralyzed Washington -- preventing members of both parties from reaching across the aisle to find common ground," she says in the address. "That must stop. Power sharing is an opportunity -- not an obstacle."

Calling on bipartisan leadership to cooperate in reducing the deficit without harming the economy, Ayotte highlights ideas on which she says both parties can agree: 1) The current tax code is broken, and should be reformed to remove loopholes "that pick winners and losers." 2) There is a need to strengthen and preserve entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security for future beneficiaries.

"One thing is clear: doing nothing is not an option," she says. "And any effort to address our fiscal crisis without including entitlement reform can't be taken seriously."

Sen. Ayotte concluded the address with a tone of optimism similar to that of congressional leaders who participated in Friday's fiscal cliff summit at the White House.

"It will take courage to address the serious fiscal challenges our country faces. But Americans always come together to solve tough problems. And, for the good of the nation, now is the time for both parties to bring their best ideas to the table," she says.

“As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, may we all remain mindful that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. What unites us will always be stronger than what divides us. We are Americans first. And as Americans we’ll rise to this challenge."

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