Today, Mitch McConnell spoke out on the political games being played by the White House on the debt battle. While on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said [emphasis mine]:
The responsible path forward was clear to everyone – a plan that avoided default and required additional savings before any further increase in the debt ceiling. Leaders from both parties and both houses agreed that this was the right path forward legislatively – the only thing to do at that point was to present this bipartisan solution to the president. And what was the president’s response? Well, unfortunately, to demand the largest single debt limit increase in history…
There’s absolutely no economic justification for insisting on a debt limit increase that brings us through the next election. It’s not the beginning of a fiscal year, it’s not the beginning of a calendar year, based on his own words its hard to conclude that this request has anything to do with anything other than the president’s re-election.
This weekend we offered the President a bipartisan proposal to avoid default so we could have the time we need to put together a serious plan for getting our house in order and he rejected it out of hand.
What happened to compromise? President Obama reportedly rejected the proposal to force a one-time, large debt-ceiling increase instead of a phased pair of smaller increases with real spending cuts attached. Now, both the House and Senate are hardening their stances and producing plans neither will be able to accept. All because Obama wanted all-or-nothing.
Senate Democrats have offered a plan full of gimmicks. The majority of cuts come from funding on Iraq that was never going to be spent as the war is over. The rest is on supposed savings from interest on the debt. While no actual spending cuts take place in the $2.7 trillion worth of reductions and the “savings” are over the next ten years in the plan presented by Reid, the $2.4 trillion in debt ceiling increase happens immediately. Reid’s larger problem is that because the plan contains no tax hikes, a large portion of his party may not support it. For the Democrat-led Senate, it’s tax-and-spend or nothing.
House Republicans are proposing a two phase plan. In the first round, the debt ceiling is only raised $1 trillion while $1 trillion in cuts are taken “up front”. The second part of the plan requires another debt committee. this time with 12 members of Congress to recommend deeper cuts. The plan also calls on Congress to vote on a balanced-budget amendment in the fourth quarter of this year. But Speaker Boehner has his hands full too. Jim Jordan, one of the sponsors of the cut, cap and balance bill has already publicly said that he does not support this new plan as has President Obama and Harry Reid.
The bi-partisan agreement was most-likely the last best hope for the two sides to come together and in a show of absolute lack of leadership – the president killed it.