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Public Statements

Extending Benefits Without Extending the Debt


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Thursday regarding a short-term extension of unemployment Insurance benefits, COBRA subsidy, flood insurance program, small business lending program, and 2009 poverty guidelines:

"The Majority Leader wants to make this debate about Republicans opposing something.

"The only thing Republicans have opposed in this debate are job-killing taxes and adding to the national debt.

"We've offered ways of paying for these programs, and we've been eager to approve them.

"What we're not willing to do is use worthwhile programs as an excuse to burden our children and our grandchildren with an even bigger national debt than we've already got.

"So the biggest reason the cloture vote we just had failed is because Democrats simply refuse to pass a bill that doesn't add to the debt.

"That's the principle they're really fighting for in this debate.

"I'll even prove it.

"In a moment, I'll offer a one-month extension of the expired Unemployment Insurance benefits, COBRA subsidy, flood insurance program, small business lending program, and 2009 poverty guidelines.

"This extension would be fully paid using the very same stimulus funds that Democrats just voted -- almost unanimously -- to redirect for these purposes. Let me repeat that: we would pay for this extension with a Democrat-approved stimulus offset.

"If the Democrats object to extending these programs using their own stimulus offset to pay for them, then they'll be saying loud and clear that their commitment to deficit spending trumps their desire to help the unemployed.

"So let's be clear about the principle that's really at stake here.

"Are Democrats willing to extend these programs without adding to the debt? That's the real question in this debate."

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