McConnell: Spending Reform Needs WH Leadership

Thursday, 10 Mar 2011 09:26 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the nation’s fiscal health is suffering, not because of taxes, but because of excessive spending. McConnell also said on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” Thursday that the Senate cannot address entitlement spending until President Barack Obama takes leadership and faces the need for reform.

mcconnell, obama, spending, reform, obama“There is a bipartisan desire to get our annual discretionary budget on a downward trend,” McConnell said. “With regard to … entitlement reform: I have for two years been trying to get the president to the table on that — there will be no entitlement reform without the president of the United States.

“That is an area where you need a result, not an issue, and I think there has been a curious kind of reluctance" on Obama’s part, he said. “I too think we need to do entitlement reform, but we need to do it with the leadership, and involvement, of the president of the United States.”

Host Mika Brzezinski asked whether there is reluctance in the GOP to deal with the tax cuts enacted under the Bush administration.

“I don’t think we have a problem in this country because we tax too little — I think it’s because we spend too much,” McConnell replied. “I think it’s clear, given the election last November, we’ll not be raising taxes.

“So the question is: Can we get our spending under control,” he continued. “We’re spending too much, borrowing too much. And, Mika, we’ve added $3 trillion to the national debt just in the last two years. Our cumulative debt now is $14 trillion, which is the size of our economy — we begin to look a lot like Greece.

“And, by the way, that doesn’t even take into account the over $50 trillion in promises we’ve made to future generations — the entitlements, very popular — but the only way you can do entitlement reform is with the leadership and signature of the president of the United States.”

McConnell was asked about defense spending.

“I think everything is on the table. What’s before us at the moment is the domestic discretionary spending reductions,” he said. “And if you focus on that first step, it is noteworthy that the House Republican spending-reduction proposal did better in the Democratic Senate than the Democratic alternative.

“So, what I think that tells you there’s a bipartisan desire to start down this path.”

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