EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 20, 2013

Ayotte opposes bipartisan funding bill

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CONCORD (AP) — A bipartisan full-year funding bill has taken a big step forward in the U.S. Senate, despite opposition from some senators, including New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte.

Ayotte, a Republican, had offered an amendment that would have eliminated $381 million in funding for a missile defense program. It would have restored the money to the Defense Department’s operations and maintenance budget to help maintain military readiness.

Ayotte says the missile program has been plagued by consistent scheduling delays, cost overruns and failure to meet performance requirements.

Her amendment was blocked from receiving a vote Monday.

Ayotte also spoke in favor of an amendment yesterday that would keep open air traffic control towers like the one at Nashua’s Boire Field. The FAA recently informed Nashua airport officials it is one of 189 towers across the country that faces the risk of potential closure starting April 7 as a result of automatic budget cuts, or sequestration. The amendment also was blocked from a vote.

“The FAA can use funds from other areas of its budget, without disrupting operations, to keep contract air traffic control towers — including Nashua’s — functioning,” Ayotte said.

The spending bill faced a final vote yesterday The Senate was expected to pass the measure and send it back to the House, which is likely to clear it later this week for President Barack Obama’s signature.