Tags: McConnell | debt | deal | CNN | tax hikes

McConnell: Debt Deal Close Without Tax Hikes, But Balanced Budget

By Hiram Reisner   |   Sunday, 31 Jul 2011 09:50 AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says a debt-limit deal is very close — and that it will not contain tax increases but calls for a vote on a balanced-budget amendment.

Mitch McConnell, deal, debt, deficit, taxes“We’re very close — we had a very good day yesterday, both the president and the vice president called me and the president talked to the speaker as well,” McConnell told Gloria Borger today on CNN’s “State of the Union."“And they understand that with a Republican majority in the House, and a very robust Republican minority in the Senate, we have to come together.

“I think we’ve made dramatic progress in that direction since April, for example, when the administration, Gloria, was asking us to raise the debt ceiling with no spending reductions at all — nothing, just a clean debt ceiling,” McConnell said. “Now I think I can pretty confidently say that this debt ceiling increase will avoid default — which is important for everybody in America to know, we’re not going to have a default for the first time in our 235-year history — we’re not going to have job-killing tax increases in it, we’re going to deal with the problem the American people sent us here to deal with, which is that the government has been spending too much.”

McConnell said the deal encompasses a $3 trillion package, with a combination of discretionary cuts now, caps over the next 10 years to hold spending in line, and Congress will be voting on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. He also said a proposed joint committee to study entitlement reform is an integral part.

“That is important for the future, because it will put some constraints on our spending habits here in Washington,” McConnell said. “Also let me emphasize the joint committee — in the early stages of this discussion the press was talking about another commission — this is a powerful joint committee with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, to not only look at entitlement changes but to make a recommendation back to the Senate and House by Thanksgiving of this year for an up-or-down vote.”

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