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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Ad, “$24 Billion,” Highlights the Cost of Tom Cotton’s Shutdown, In Contrast with Pryor’s Successful Efforts to Reach Bipartisan Solution

Cotton recklessly endorsed and voted for the shutdown, which cost the U.S. economy $24 billion and took us to the brink of default

Pryor teamed up with Republican Senate colleagues to find a solution to the crisis

LITTLE ROCK — Today, Mark Pryor for U.S. Senate launched a new television ad reminding voters of Rep. Tom Cotton’s irresponsible support for a government shutdown that cost our economy billions, which stands in stark contrast with Pryor’s efforts that helped to lay the groundwork for a bipartisan solution that reopened the government and prevented default.

The ad begins airing in Arkansas today.


“There’s no question that Congressman Cotton endorsed this pointless shutdown and voted to prolong it, even as his reckless actions hurt our economy to the tune of $24 billion,” said Jeff Weaver, Pryor for Senate campaign manager. “Arkansans know they can count on Mark to work with anyone of any party, so long as they’re serious about finding common-sense solutions that work for Arkansas families. While Congressman Cotton was part of the problem, cheerleading the disfunction in Washington and the $24 billion it cost us, Mark was part of the solution.”


“$24 Billion”  [WATCH]


Narrator 1: Tom Cotton cost us billions. The government shutdown cost America $24 billion. [Standard & Poor’s; Memphis Business Journal, 10/17/13]

Cotton and a small group of reckless congressmen took our country to the brink of default. [ABC News, 10/8/13]

His irresponsible actions weakened our credit and damaged our economy. [Reuters, 10/7/13] [CNNMoney, 10/15/13]

Narrator 2: Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed. Senators like Mark Pryor brought Democrats and Republicans together to end the shutdown and responsibly cut spending. [CNN, 10/16/13] [Associated Press, 10/16/13]


BACKGROUND: [see attached for complete line-by-line backup]





Government Shutdown Cost Economy $24 Billion. According to the Memphis Business Journal, “With the deal to avert a breaching of the federal debit ceiling and an end to the government shutdown in place, Stand & Poor’s issued a report revising their estimates for GDP growth and giving its estimate on what the final cost of a government shutdown will be. ‘We believe that to date, the shutdown has shaved at least 0.6% off of annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth, or taken $24 billion out of the economy,’ the report says. S&P is now revising down its expectations for GDP growth in the fourth quarter, which it had expected at 3 percent. Now, the estimate is closer to 2 percent.” [Memphis Business Journal, 10/17/13]

  • HEADLINE—Cost Of The Shutdown $24 Billion. [Memphis Business Journal, 10/17/13]

  • HEADLINE—S&P Says Shutdown Cost US Economy $24B [Boston Globe, 10/18/13]

  • HEADLINE—Shutdown Took $24 Billion Bite Out Of Economy [CNN, 10/17/13]

Cotton Endorsed Shutting Down Government…

Cotton Told Radio Host Andrea Tantaros That He Was Prepared To Shut Down The Government. “So, if Republicans don’t get what they want, and we have a president digging in his heels, are you prepared to shut down the government?” host Andrea Tantaros asked. “I think we haveto be,” Rep. Cotton replied. “We have to be willing to draw the line and say that we have a debt crisis in this country that’s caused by two simple facts: We spend too much, and we have too little growth. We have to adopt pro-growth policies and we have to reduce the explosive deficit spending under the Obama administration to get the economy growing again to confront this debt crisis.” [Andrea Tantaros Show with Jason Mattera, 1/8/13]

Cotton Called A Continuing Resolution To Fund The Government And Raising The Debt Ceiling “Opportunities To Try To Prevent Obamacare.” On Hugh Hewitt’s show, Cotton said: “I think that when we return from our August recess in September with our continuing resolution and then in October-November with the debt ceiling, those are important opportunities to strike another blow against Obamacare before that law takes effect, before the insurance marketplaces begin to open for enrollment on October 1 and before they open for business on January 1, and whether that takes the form of trying to defund it or trying to effectively defund it by delaying the core provisions for a year, two years – the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the insurance exchanges – it’s something that we’re still debating internally but because those are two must-pass pieces of legislation, it gives us an opportunity to try to prevent Obamacare.” [Hugh Hewitt Show, 7/30/13]

Then Voted Repeatedly To Shut down Government…

Cotton Voted Five Times For Reckless Budgets Intended To Create Shutdown Crisis. [Vote #478, 9/20/13; CNN, 9/20/13; CNN, 9/29/13Vote #498, 9/29/13; Vote 502, 9/30/13; Vote 504, 9/30/13; Vote 505, 10/1/13]

And Opposed Efforts To Allow Vote on Bipartisan Deal That Would Have Ended the Shutdown

Cotton and House Republicans Voted Sixteen Times Against Efforts to Re-Open the Government. Cotton and House Republicans voted sixteen times against efforts to vote on a clean government funding resolution by allowing consideration of the Senate-passed continuing resolution. [H Res 370, Vote #509, 10/02/13; HJ Res 70, Vote #512, 10/02/13; HR 3230, Vote #515, 10/03/13; HJ Res 72, Vote #517, 10/03/13; H Res 371, Vote #519, 10/04/13; HJ Res 85, Vote #521, 10/04/13; HJ Res 75, Vote #523, 10/04/13; H J Res 77,  Vote #527, 10/7/13; HJ Res 84, Vote #529, 10/08/13; H Res 373, Vote #531, 10/08/13; HR 3273, Vote #533, 10/08/13; HJ Res 90, Vote #536, 10/09/13; HJ Res 79, Vote #539, 10/10/13; HJ Res 76, Vote #541, 10/11/13; HJ Res 80, Vote #547, 10/14/13; HJ Res 80, Vote #549, 10/14/13]

Cotton Voted Against Allowing Bipartisan Budget That Would End Crisis To Come To A Vote. According to Talking Points Memo, “The House rejected Wednesday an effort by House Democrats to put a clean temporary spending bill on the floor, closing one opportunity to re-open the federal government. The complicated process went like this. House Republicans proposed a partial spending bill to fund the National Parks Service. House Democrats moved to replace that bill with the Senate-passed spending bill that would fund the government as a whole. House Republican leadership rejected the motion. House Democrats appealed the rejection. House Republicans moved to block the appeal, and the House then voted 230-194, largely along party lines, to block the appeal. If the House had allowed the appeal, there might have been a chance for the Senate spending bill to come to the floor for a vote Wednesday evening. The expectation is that the Senate bill would be approved if put up for a vote, with moderate Republicans joining Democrats to pass it, ending the government shutdown.”  [Talking Points Memo, 10/2/13; House Vote 512, 10/2/13; Clerk of the House, Floor Summary, 10/2/13]

  • There Were At Least 20 Republicans Willing To Pass A Clean Continuing Resolution—Surpassing The “Magic” 17 Republican Votes Needed For The House To Pass The Senate Bill.  “As of Wednesday afternoon, the number of those Republicans hit 20 — surpassing the magic 17 votes needed to pass a clean funding bill if all 200 Democrats stick together and team up with them. Of course, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would have to be willing to put that bill on the floor in the first place. But if he did, the votes appear to be there for passage, at which point the bill would sail through the Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama, ending the shutdown.” [Huffington Post, 10/2/13]


Cotton Said He Supported A Default Because “I’d Like To Take The Medicine Now.” In January 2013, Politico reported: “He vowed to vote against raising the debt limit in two months, absent the sort of massive cuts the president opposes. He said he is more concerned about the ‘cataclysmic’ consequences of inaction than the “short-term market corrections” of default. ‘I’d like to take the medicine now,’ he said.” [POLITICO, 1/8/13]

Cotton Would Only Support Debt Limit Increase If It Stopped The Affordable Care Act. In July 2013, City Wire reported: “‘A debt-ceiling increase must come with real, concrete reforms to stop President Obama’s reckless deficit spending and Obamacare,’ said Cotton, who is expected to announce next week that he’ll challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in 2014.” [City Wire, 7/31/13]


House Effort To Avoid Default Failed To Garner Enough Support Within The Republican Caucus, “As A Major Credit Agency Warned That The United States Was On The Verge Of A Costly Ratings Downgrade.” “With the federal government on the brink of a default, a House Republican effort to end the shutdown and extend the Treasury’s borrowing authority collapsed Tuesday night as a major credit agency warned that the United States was on the verge of a costly ratings downgrade. After the failure of the House Republican leadership to find enough support for its latest proposal to end the fiscal crisis, the Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders immediately restarted negotiations to find a bipartisan path forward.” [Tampa Bay Times, 10/15/13]

House Leadership Failed Repeatedly To Bring “House’s Hard-Core Conservatives” And “More Pragmatic Republicans” Together On A Deal To Avoid Default. “House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his leadership team failed in repeated, daylong attempts to bring their troops behind any bill that would reopen the government and extend the Treasury’s debt limit on terms significantly reduced from their original push against funding for the health care law. The House’s hard-core conservatives and some more pragmatic Republicans were nearing open revolt, and the leadership was forced twice to back away from proposals it had floated, the second time sending lawmakers home for the night to await a decision on how to proceed today.” [Tampa Bay Times, 10/15/13]

  • HEADLINE—US Default Could Cause Economic Catastrophe. [ABC News, 10/8/13]

  • HEADLINE—U.S. On Brink Of Possible Default [Business Spectator, 10/17/13]

  • HEADLINE—Debt Default Looms As Nation Waits [Idaho State Journal, 10/16/13]


Fitch Ratings Agency Put The U.S. Government’s Credit Rating On A Downgrade Warning. “The Fitch ratings agency underlined the seriousness of the situation by putting the US government’s AAA credit rating on a downgrade warning, and European markets slid in morning trade.” [Business Spectator, 10/17/13]

  • HEADLINE—US credit rating again in danger of downgrade [Reuters, 10/7/13]

  • HEADLINE—Fitch Puts US Credit Rating On Negative Watch [ABC News, 10/16/13]

Threat Of Default Raised Interest Rates On Treasury Bonds “To Levels Not Seen In Five Years.” According to Reuters, “Fears that the Treasury Department might delay paying debt holders led some large money market funds to shed holdings of Treasury bills that mature in the second half of October into the first half of November, which were seen as most vulnerable if the government could not increase its borrowing capacity in time. The unease in holding these T-bills catapulted their interest rates to levels not seen in five years. Their yields were briefly double the yields on two-year Treasury notes.” [Reuters, 10/17/13]

Bloomberg: “The Shutdown Did Cost The U.S. More To Borrow.” “While the jump in bill rates proved short lived, the shutdown did cost the U.S. more to borrow. The $35 billion in three-month bills the Treasury sold on Oct. 15 were auctioned at a discount rate of 0.13 percent, the highest since February 2011. That compares with 0.01 percent at the Sept. 30 auction. The U.S. sold $30 billion six-month bills the same day at a rate of 0.15 percent, more than double the 0.06 percent rate on the same maturity securities sold the prior week.” [Bloomberg, 10/19/13]

Fitch Credit Rating Agency Cited The Threat Of Default In Its Review Of U.S. Government’s Credit Rating For Possible Downgrade. “The Fitch credit rating agency has warned that it is reviewing the U.S. government’s AAA credit rating for a possible downgrade, citing the impasse in Washington that has raised the threat of a default on the nation’s debt.” [AP, 10/16/13]

Fitch Ratings Agency Said Standstill In Washington Undermined The Effectiveness Of The Country’s Government And Political Institutions. “Fitch Ratings put the US government’s ‘AAA’ credit rating on ‘rating watch negative’ Tuesday, saying that the standstill on the U.S. debt ceiling negotiations risks undermining the effectiveness of the country’s government and political institutions.” [CNBC, 10/15/13]

Default Could Cost U.S. Place As World’s Reserve Currency. “Among the biggest impacts could be mass selling of the U.S. dollar, an event that would threaten the greenback’s standing as the world’s reserve currency.” [NBC News, 10/10/13]

S&P: “The Bottom Line Is The Government Shutdown Has Hurt The U.S. Economy.”

S&P: “The Bottom Line Is The Government Shutdown Has Hurt The U.S. Economy.” “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services estimated the U.S. federal government’s shutdown has shaved at least 0.6% off of the nation’s fourth-quarter gross domestic product, hurting the economy by $24 billion. ‘The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the U.S. economy,” S&P wrote in a report Wednesday. The ratings firm’s report came a day after peer Fitch Ratings placed the U.S.’s triple-A rating on watch for downgrade.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/13]

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Estimated The U.S. Federal Government’s Shutdown Shaved At Least 0.6% Off The National’s GDP, “Hurting The Economy By $24 Billion.” “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services estimated the U.S. federal government’s shutdown has shaved at least 0.6% off of the nation’s fourth-quarter gross domestic product, hurting the economy by $24 billion.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/13]

HEADLINE—S & P Estimates Shutdown Shaved At Least 0.6% Off U.S. 4th Quarter GDP [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/13]

HEADLINE—Small businesses reel from shutdown [CNNMoney, 10/15/13]

HEADLINE—Heading Into Week Three, Shutdown Paralyzing Small Businesses Around The Country [Washington Post, 10/15/13]

HEADLINE—Shutdown Ends, But Small Businesses Lost Big [CNNMoney, 10/17/13]


  • HEADLINE—Bipartisan Group Of Senators Help Pave The Way For A Senate Deal [CNN, 10/16/13]

  • HEADLINE—Bipartisan Budget Deal To End Shutdown And Avoid Default [Associated Press, 10/16/13]

Stephens News Bureau: “Pryor Was One Of 14 Senators — Led By Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine — Who Held A Number Of Meetings In The Last Few Days To End The Partisan Impasse.” “After the two leaders announced the deal, Pryor took to the Senate floor to trumpet the efforts of moderate Republicans and Democrats to get a deal done. Pryor was one of 14 senators — led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine — who held a number of meetings in the last few days to end the partisan impasse.” [Stephens Washington Bureau, 10/16/13]

Column: On The Shutdown, Pryor Was “Part Of The Solution;” Cotton Was “Part Of The Problem.” “It’s quite simple in this case: The incumbent senator in this epic race was part of the solution. The young congressman challenging him was part of the problem. Period. End of sentence. End of paragraph.” [Brummett, Democrat-Gazette, 10/20/13]

Pryor’s Talks With Gang Of 14 “Became The Framework For The Decisive Arrangement” That Ended The Shutdown And Averted Default. In October 2013, Brummett opined: “If you are scoring the politics of the shutdown fiasco at home, then you should give 10 points to Pryor for reasonably opposing the nonsensical shutdown in the first place. Then you should give him 10 more points for joining a bipartisan Gang of 14 centrist senators working with Maine Republican Susan Collins to fashion a deal to reopen the government and extend the debt limit. Their talks became the framework for the decisive arrangement between Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.” [Brummett, Democrat-Gazette, 10/20/13]

  • Pryor’s Bipartisan Group Gave Reid And McConnell 6 Areas Of Agreement, Of Which The Two Leaders Settled On Four. In October 2013, Brummett stated: “Then you should give him 10 more points for joining a bipartisan Gang of 14 centrist senators working with Maine Republican Susan Collins to fashion a deal to reopen the government and extend the debt limit. Their talks became the framework for the decisive arrangement between Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. They gave Reid six areas of agreement. He and McConnell settled on four of them, leaving out a delay in the medical-device tax and temporary flexibility for some agencies dealing with sequestration cuts.” [Democrat-Gazette, Brummett, 10/20/13]

Pryor Was Part Of Bipartisan Group That Sought End To Government Shutdown And Default Threat. The New York Times reported, “The Collins plan would maintain sequestration-level spending through Jan. 15, when formal budget negotiators would be required to complete a House-Senate agreement on spending and taxation over the next decade. That date was already a concession. Ms. Collins, along with Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both Republicans, initially wanted to finance the government for six months at those levels. The initial proposal by Ms. Collins would also have extended the debt ceiling only to Nov. 15, but at the request of Senate Democratic leaders, she and Mr. McConnell pushed it back to Jan. 31… Underscoring those concerns, six of the senators negotiating with Ms. Collins — Mr. Manchin, Mr. King, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana — released a joint statement acknowledging involvement in the talks but saying they could not support the proposal ‘in its current form.’” [New York Times, 10/13/13]

Collin’s Bipartisan Group “Helped Spur Momentum For Talks To End The Government Shutdown.” According to the Sun Journal, “The plan that Collins, a Republican, later proposed helped spur momentum for talks to end the government shutdown and lift the nation’s borrowing limit. Two days before the government is expected to run out of money to pay its bills, Senate leaders Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, are seeking support for an emerging bipartisan agreement. A final deal proved elusive as House Republicans floated a proposal that Reid rejected as unacceptable.” [Sun Journal, 10/15/13]

KHOG: “Pryor Is Part Of A Bipartisan Group That Has Been Working To Find A Solution To Take To Congressional Leaders.” KHOG reported, “Senator Mark Pryor says he’s optimistic lawmakers will come to an agreement. [Pryor said] ‘You do not want to play games with the debt ceiling, with the nation’s credit, with the nation’s economy. You don’t want to jeopardize all that and I’m just hoping that at the end of the day cooler heads prevail and the house does concur with what the senate is trying to do.’ Pryor is part of a bi-partisan group that has been working to find a solution to take to congressional leaders. [40/29, KHOG, 10/14/13]


Plan Put Forth By Bipartisan Senate Group—That Included Pryor—Improved Income Verification In Health Care Exchanges To Reduce Fraud in Health Care Subsidies. “Mr. Manchin noted that Ms. Collins’ plan addresses the new health care law by delaying for two years the medical device tax — a divisive funding mechanism that some Democrats have opposed — and by improving the income verification process among those obtaining benefits tied to Obamacare.” [Washington Times, 10/14/13]

  • Income Verification Would Reduce Fraud In Health Care Subsidies. According to Roll Call, the plan put forth by bipartisan Senate group included “income verification provisions to prevent fraud and ensure only eligible individuals receive subsidies on the insurance exchanges.” [Roll Call, 10/12/13]


Plan By Bipartisan Senate Group—That Included Pryor—Retained Sequester Spending Cuts. “The Collins plan called for extending the nation’s borrowing authority through January and opening the government through March. But the measure would have done nothing to undo the sequester, a top Democratic priority. It also would have repealed a tax on medical devices imposed under the 2010 federal health law, a proposition Republicans favor but many Democrats don’t.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/13/13]

Plan By Bipartisan Senate Group—That Included Pryor—Provided Federal Agencies With Greater Flexibility In Dealing With Sequestration Cuts. “Provide federal agencies with greater flexibility to fund priorities. The plan includes language to provide federal agencies with flexibility to mitigate the impact of automatic spending cuts imposed by sequestration. The proposal would also assure appropriate Congressional oversight of these decisions by requiring agencies to submit their spending proposals to the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction.” [Roll Call, 10/12/13]

Lack Of Flexibility In Sequestration Spending Hurts Helpful Program, Nut Did Not Allow Targeted Cuts To Wasteful And Ineffective Programs. According to the New Republic, “Sequestration was never supposed to go into effect because it blindly takes a swing at the entire discretionary budget, whether the programs are worthwhile or wasteful. Combined with the spending caps, this austerity removes any flexibility to match federal spending to constituent needs. And though sequestration has fallen off the radar as a media concern, it has nonetheless hampered the economic recovery in significant ways, a point that most economists agree on. In July, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that keeping sequestration cuts in place through 2014 would cost the country up to 1.6 million jobs. The Huffington Post has done remarkable work explaining how the sequester has damaged government watchdogs, scientific research, public health, law enforcement, public defenders, Head Start and the overall federal workforce.” [New Republic, 9/20/13]


Bipartisan Senate Group Required Conference Committee To Work Out Long Term Deficit Reduction Plan. According to Politico, “A key element of the deal reached to reopen the government and hike the debt ceiling is that both chambers must go to a budget conference. The conference committee will be tasked with agreeing to budget numbers and crafting a bipartisan deal to address long-term deficit reduction.” [Politico, 10/16/13]

  • Bipartisan Budget Deal Required First Budget Conference Committee Since 2010 And Return To Regular Order. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The group, known as a budget conference committee, would be led by Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, and his Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Patty Murray. It would likely include at least a dozen lawmakers and is tasked with reaching an agreement in December, part of Wednesday’s tentative deal to extend government funding to Jan. 15 and the nation’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7.” They added “Budget conference committees were routine for decades, but there hasn’t been one since 2010 because the House and Senate have been so far apart on spending and tax priorities. Such committees are meant to reconcile differences between separate budget plans already passed by the House and Senate.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/16/13]

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