As Congress continues to negotiate a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) joined AEI on Wednesday for a frank discussion of the pressing economic and national security issues facing the US. A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Ayotte argued that a comprehensive reform of the tax code and entitlements, including social security, should be integral to any compromise. Regardless, she said, a deal must be reached to avoid the $1.2 trillion in cuts known as sequestration.
Ayotte emphasized that sequestration affects the military acutely at a time when US national security is threatened by factors such as a resurgent al Qaeda in Mali and Syria, where terrorists have engaged with certain rebel groups in the ongoing civil war. Now is not the time to cash a peace dividend, she claimed; instead of cutting the US military, America must maintain its commitments to the Middle East and deepen those in East Asia.
In an extended discussion of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, Ayotte reiterated her past statements that called into question the administration’s inconsistent messaging. She concluded that the administration’s failure to secure the consulate and respond appropriately when the attack was underway merits full investigation.
In her two years in the US Senate, Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has emerged as an influential voice in the Republican Party. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, she has championed the need for a strong military. And, as a member of the Senate Budget Committee, she has advocated for budgeting and spending reform. Most recently, she led efforts in the Senate to obtain details surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi that resulted in the murder of four Americans.
As the 113th Congress prepares to convene, please join us for an AEI discussion with Sen. Ayotte.
Kelly Ayotte, US Senate (R-NH)
Gary J. Schmitt, AEI
Question and Answer Session
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Senator Kelly Ayotte was elected to the US Senate in 2010, and served as the New Hampshire attorney general from 2004 to 2010. Her committee assignments as senator include budget, commerce, small business, and armed services. She is also the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support and serves on the Subcommittee on Personnel and the Subcommittee on Seapower. She has often spoken against sequestration while also advocating for budgeting and spending reform.
Gary J. Schmitt is co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies and director of the Program on American Citizenship at AEI. Schmitt is a former staff director of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. During former president Ronald Reagan’s second term, he was the executive director of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Schmitt’s work focuses on long-term US strategic security issues both in the domestic and international spheres. He has been a contributing author and co-editor of a variety of books, including “Safety, Liberty, and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism” (AEI Press, 2010), “The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition” (Encounter Books, 2009), and “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (AEI Press, 2007).