Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said President Barack Obama is putting an expansion of government ahead of the goal of a bipartisan plan to cut the U.S. deficit, and said Democrats have prevented a large-scale “grand bargain.”
‘I was one of those who had long hoped we could do something big for the country,’’ McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor today. “But in my view the president has presented us with three choices: smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default. Republicans choose none of the above.”
Instead, he said, “Republicans will choose a path that actually reflects the will of the people, which is to do the responsible thing and ensure the government doesn’t default on its obligations.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded more specifics from Obama, saying, "Where's the president's plan? When's he going to lay his cards on the table?"
"This debt limit increase is his problem," USA Today quoted Boehner as saying. "I think it's time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the Congress can pass."
McConnell scheduled a private meeting with Senate Republicans today to get their views on the negotiations at the White House scheduled to continue this afternoon.
Obama and congressional leaders in both parties are working on a deficit-reduction plan that will gain enough Republican support to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline.
“After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable,” McConnell said in his toughest comments about the negotiations since bipartisan talks began.
Obama is pushing for a plan that would reduce projected deficits by as much as $4 trillion over a decade or more and include some tax increases that Republicans reject. Obama wants a boost in the debt limit that would extend beyond the 2012 elections.
McConnell said Democrats’ proposals, including spending cuts, are far too small, and fail to address fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid that would sustain the programs in future years.
The Obama administration is “too committed to big government” and wants to freeze in place the expansion of government over the last two years, McConnell said.
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