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Public Statements

McConnell Re-Extends Invitation to the President to Discuss Debt Reduction

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the President's request for a debt ceiling increase. He also renewed his invitation to the President to come to the Hill and meet with Senate Republicans about what can be accomplished in the debt reduction talks:

"Washington is engaged in a debate right now over the kind of country we want to be.

"The specific issue is this: at some point over the next several weeks, the federal government will no longer be able to borrow the money it needs to cover the cost of promises it's already made.

"So the President wants Congress to raise the statutory debt limit set by Congress. He wants us to raise the limit on the national credit card.

"Now, what Republicans have said is that the only way we'll do it is if Democrats agree to change their ways -- so we don't end up with the kind of situation here that we're witnessing in Greece. And make no mistake: that's exactly where we're headed if we don't do something significant now.

"Democrats have refused. Instead, they're making what can only be described as a bizarre request under the circumstances.

"In the middle of what we all agree is a debt crisis, they want to spend even more. They want a second stimulus -- more deficit spending. In the middle of a jobs crisis, they want to raise taxes that we know will kill even more jobs -- when even the President has said that raising taxes would leave job creators with less ability to hire.

"These are their solutions.

"This is what the President came off the campaign trail to defend last Thursday. And this is what Republicans oppose.

"Our view is that the way you solve a debt crisis is to go on a diet -- not a shopping spree.

"Our view is that the way to create jobs is to make it easier for businesses to hire, not harder.

"And frankly, we don't think the voters sent a wave of Republicans to Washington last November because they wanted us to raise taxes -- they sent us here to restore some sanity.

"But the President and his Democrat allies in Congress don't yet seem to get it.

"Right now they're calling for a tax on aircraft manufacturers because they think it's good politics.

"It's their cheap attempt at trying to make anybody who opposes it look bad.

"What they forget is that many of them voted to repeal a similar tax on the same industry during the Clinton administration because of the devastating effect it had on jobs.

"They made the same arguments then -- that we need to raise taxes on luxury goods to get more money -- and it backfired. The ship-building industry alone lost tens of thousands of jobs. Democrats know this. But apparently, they'd rather have fun trying to caricature their political opponents than they would working out a bipartisan solution that would actually enable us to balance the books.

"Here's the point: Washington needs to find a way to spend less. Taxing more is their easy way out.

"They start with aircraft manufacturers. Then when that's enough -- and it never is -- it's some other industry. Then another. And before you know it you're going after everybody. Why? Because it's easier to find villains and excuses than it is to make tough choices.

"But most Americans know what it's like to make tough choices.

"And they want to know: if they have to do it, why can't Washington?

"That's' why I invited the President over here last Thursday to talk with Republicans.

"My hope, as I made clear, was that he would listen to Republicans and hear firsthand why we think raising taxes in a weak economy is a bad idea and what the realities are over here.

"My goal, as I said on Thursday, was to get together and talk about what's actually possible. The Obama administration said it wasn't `a conversation worth having.' Republicans in Congress believe that finding a way to reduce the deficit and put Medicare on more secure footing is a conversation worth having. So today I'd like to re-extend the offer.

"I think the best way to solve this impasse is for the President to hear what needs to be done, and how we can do it -- hear what can actually pass here in Congress.

"He needs to understand the principle at stake here from our point of view.

"It's not about rich and poor. It's not about an election. It's about making Washington take the hit for a change. It's about having Washington make some tough choices for a change.

"Americans want to see accountability in Washington. They've seen Democrats spend trillions of dollars we didn't have. And they've seen the economic situation get worse in many respects than it was several years ago. The facts speak for themselves.

"Since the President took the oath of office:

"Nearly 2 million more people are unemployed. That's a 17 percent increase in the employment rate under President Obama.

"Gas Prices have nearly doubled -- up 86 percent since January 2009.

"In just the last two years, the federal debt has increased 35 percent.

"Debt per person has increased by over $11,000 dollars.

"Health insurance premiums for working families have shot up 19 percent.

"All while home values across the country have declined by 12 percent.

"They have made the economy worse.

"Americans get this.

"They think Washington needs to either find a way to pay its bills or to scale back its commitments. Just like they do. Americans have made enough sacrifices the past few years. It's time Washington learn to make some sacrifices of its own.

"So hopefully the President will agree that reducing the deficit is a conversation worth having.

"I think we can do it. But I think he needs to understand what the legislative realties are and why.

"And we're committed to a result that will help restore the people's confidence.

"Not only in our economy, but in their government."


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