Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his debt-ceiling plan on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday, saying he made the decision to allow President Barack Obama to decide to raise it unilaterally because he concluded that a deal with “this liberal president” is not possible.
McConnell also told Ingraham that he doesn’t believe all conservatives are in revolt against the plan, which calls for allowing the president to raise the debt ceiling without Republicans voting for the measure.
“There’s a good deal of conservative support for what I laid out yesterday, including the Wall Street Journal editorial board,” McConnell said. The Journal said in an editorial that McConnell’s decision needs to be placed in proper political context.
“This is the political context in which to understand Mr. McConnell's proposal yesterday to force Mr. Obama to take ownership of any debt-limit increase,” the Journal said. “If the president still insists on a tax increase, then Republicans will walk away from the talks.”
McConnell told Ingraham he would not let Obama make Republicans look bad.
“If we go into default [Obama] will say that Republicans are making the economy worse . . . and all of a sudden we have co-ownership of a bad economy,” he said. “That is very bad positioning going into an election.
“My first choice was to do something important for the country,” McConnell said. “My second obligation is to my party and to my conference, to prevent them from being sucked into a horrible position politically that would allow the president to probably get re-elected.”
Ingraham asked McConnell whether ceding authority to the president to make a unilateral decision on the economy does not set a bad precedent.
“He owns the economy,” McConnell said. “He’s been in office almost three years now and we refuse to let him entice us into co-ownership of a bad economy.”
McConnell also said there will be no vote to raise the debt ceiling and he was not passing the buck of leadership to the president.
“We’ve been trying to get this liberal president to sign a deal worth signing,” he said. “You know it makes a difference when you only control a third of the government. If we could run the whole government out of the House of Representatives we would be able to get a result that we’d like.”
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