UPDATE: Wednesday evening, Feb. 25
The state Democratic Party today fired back at the National Republican Senatorial Committee for releasing a new web video that hits Gov. Maggie Hassan for proposing a Chief Operating Officer for state government.
The video, which can be viewed at the end of our earlier report, which appears below, says, “This alarming abuse of power will give her all the free time she needs.”
The Democrats said the ad is a ploy to try to “take the heat off of their vulnerable vice presidential wannabe,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who, the Democrats charged, has been ‘playing politics” with Department of Homeland Security funding and is now trying to “spin her way out of trouble.”
The Democrats noted that the hiring of a COO for state government was the top recommendation of the Governor’s Innovation Commission, “which included experts from the business community, nonprofits, and higher education, as well as elected officials such as Republican State Senator Sharon Carson.”
The Democrats also noted that the Republican chairman of the New Hampshire House Finance Committee, Rep. Neal Kurk, called it a “smart move.”
The NHDP also noted that “at least five Republican governors, including Republican Governors Association Chairman and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, have named Chief Operating Officers for their states.”
Other GOP governors with COOs are Rick Scott of Florida, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Bruce Rauner of Illinois and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska.
“If Washington Republicans think that they can distract from the fact that Kelly Ayotte has put New Hampshire communities at risk by holding funding DHS funding hostage, they are going to be sorely disappointed,” said NHDP Chairman Raymond Buckley.
Ayotte had been strongly in favor of a bill passed by the U.S. House that tied continued Department of Homeland Security funding to a provision to de-fund President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration.
After Senate Democrats blocked four Republicans four attempts to get the bill to the floor for a vote – and with a Feb. 28 DHS shutdown deadline approaching, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday night proposed separate votes to fund the DHS and then to de-fund the Obama actions.
Ayotte on Tuesday night backed the McConnell proposal, noting that Obama cannot proceed with his executive actions because a judge has ruled that the measures exceeded the President’s legal authority. The administration is appealing the order.
Ayotte said, “I have strongly opposed the president’s sweeping 2014 executive action on immigration. I am encouraged that a recent court ruling has found the President’s executive action on immigration exceeded his legal authority and has blocked its implementation.
“In light of the court injunction – which prevents the administration from carrying out the President’s executive action – I will support legislation that would fully fund homeland security operations for the rest of the fiscal year. I will also vote in favor of a separate measure that would defund the President’s 2014 executive action, and I support further challenging his illegal actions through the court system.”
Ayotte also reportedly argued in favor of the McConnell plan at a private lunch among Senate Republicans on Tuesday. According to Politico, the discussion became heated between Ayotte and strong immigration hawk Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
(Our earlier report on the NRSC video follows.)
Wednesday morning, Feb. 25:
Republicans today will release a new web video that chides Gov. Maggie Hassan for proposing the creation of a new Chief Operating Officer for state government, charging that she is too busy preparing a run for the U.S. Senate next year to do her job.
The video by the National Republican Senatorial Committee says, “Governor Hassan is hiring a chief operating officer to run New Hampshire while she runs for Senate at a cost of $1.4 million to the taxpayers. This alarming abuse of power will give her all the free time she needs.”
Hassan proposed a state COO in her new budget, which is now subject to review, and likely changes, by the Republican-controlled Legislature. House Finance Committee Chairman Neal Kurk, R-Weare, has reportedly called it a “smart move for the state.” Other key Republicans in the Legislature have not yet weighed in.
View the NRSC web video below: