GOP Sen. Kyl: Tea Party Debt Stance Mirrors Then-Sen. Obama

Sunday, 31 Jul 2011 12:55 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl says the debt-ceiling process has come far since President Barack Obama asked for a clean increase without spending cuts and that the tea party’s reluctance to go along with the deal is reminiscent of the president’s stance when he was a senator representing Illinois.

Jon Kyl, Senate, Obama, deficit“The Republicans have been very focused on ensuring that we do not get in a position where we cannot pay our bills, where things that the American people rely on will still get to them in time,” Kyl said on “Fox News Sunday.” “As a result, the leaders of both parties were fixed on the August 2nd date — too bad we had to get this close to it — but at least it focuses the mind to get them to really agree on what it will take to resolve the situation.”

Negotiations on the debt ceiling have progressed considerably, the Arizona Republican said.

“Remember, three months ago, the president insisted on a clean debt-ceiling extension — clearly we will have a significant amount of spending reductions in this proposal,” Kyl said. The second thing was he insisted on revenues, as he called them — tax increases — there will not be tax increases in this proposal.

“Third, both sides agree that we need to have some mechanism for moving forward in the future, so we can look at both the entitlement side of the ledger as well as the discretionary side of spending, and make recommendations to the rest of the Congress about how to provide some accountability for the future,” he said. “That is embedded in what I understand would be the key part of this agreement.”

The proposed deal significantly advances Republican principles, Kyl said. It also would provide the opportunity for a future vote on a balanced-budget amendment, although it is not central to the agreement.

Kyle also compared House tea party freshmen’s hesitance to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling with Obama’s when he was in the Senate.

"The tea party folks in the House who say they’re standing on principle not to raise the debt ceiling remind me a lot of Senator Barack Obama, who did the same thing — voting against the debt ceiling increase when he was in the Senate," Kyl said.

"Sometimes people are just so firm in their beliefs that they think that they have to vote against the debt ceiling increase, even though the majority of us in both the Republican and Democratic parties believe that that would be a mistake,” he said.

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