Cutting Spending Is Essential for Fiscal Agreement

Statement

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Dec. 12, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for the President to shelve his campaign talking points and offer specific spending cuts as part of a balanced plan to avoid the Fiscal Cliff:

"Yesterday, I came to the floor to point out something that shouldn't need repeating but does: any agreement on debt and deficit reduction has to include cuts to government spending.

"The reason I shouldn't have to repeat this is because the President himself has been running around the country for two years saying any agreement has to be balanced, meaning revenue and cuts. This was the message he ran on -- and it also happens to be one that an overwhelming majority of Americans support, especially the part about cuts, which more than three fourths say they support. If you heard some of the wasteful projects I detailed yesterday, you'd see why.

"I don't think there's a single person outside of Washington, D.C. who doesn't think we waste massive amounts of money in this town and who doesn't wonder why it's so hard for us to agree to cut back. Yet now, with the election behind him, President Obama is suddenly silent on the need for spending cuts. He keeps talking about balance. That polls well. But when it comes to specific cuts, he's silent. All of a sudden it's all tax hikes all the time. Forget balance, let's just raise taxes and spend even more.

"The President and his allies have taken so many things off the table the only thing left is the varnish. The President now seems to think, after his re-election, that if all he talks about are the need for tax hikes, and that's all reporters write about, we'll all magically forget the part about needing balance. It's a classic bait and switch. And we're seeing new versions of it nearly every day now.

"Democrats campaigned for two years saying we needed to take a balanced approach to our problems. Yet now that the President's been reelected, they're walking back, and the only thing left are the taxes. What the President should be doing after his re-election is bringing people together and showing that he has the desire and the ability to lead the two parties to an agreement that's good for the economy and good for the country. So far, he's chosen a different path -- a path aimed at pleasing the most partisan elements of his base. A month after his re-election and weeks before the fiscal cliff, he'd still rather campaign than cooperate. And we'll find out this week if he has the will to change paths and get something done, or just double down on campaigning.

"Look: the election is over. The President may enjoy these political rallies, but it's time to get serious. The American people are gravely concerned about the nation's future. They're counting on us to prevent the kind of crisis here that we've seen unfolding across Europe. Republicans have engaged in these discussions in good faith. We've agreed to make tough choices.

"The question is, where's the President? Where's the only man in the country who can make it happen? Well, it appears that with just a couple weeks left to resolve this crisis, he's busy moving the goal posts. Instead of leading as he was elected to do, he's out campaigning and playing games with the nation's future.

"So my sincere plea this morning is that the President get serious -- that he put the campaign behind him and lead. If he does, he'll have willing partners. And the first sign is seriousness about spending cuts."