Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that Democrats insistence on raising taxes as part of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling is a deal breaker and they need to “sober up and get real” about what can be passed in Congress.
McConnell also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday that when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress they could not raise taxes, so why did they think they can do it now.
“The administration made it clear — including the president one more time yesterday to all of us — that they really want to raise taxes and Senate Democrats actually want to use the opportunity to raise the debt ceiling to spend some more,” he said. “So, here you have, at a moment when we’re supposed to be addressing deficit and debt, the Democrats saying to us we want to raise taxes and raise spending. That’s not the way to get an agreement to cut spending and debt.”
Van Susteren noted that the president’s press secretary Jay Carney had said the discussions on the debt ceiling were progressing, before they collapsed Thursday, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl walked out.
“Well, some had been accomplished but then they started saying to do even that we have to have a significant tax increase. Look, Greta, we know that wouldn’t pass,” McConnell said. “Let me give you an example: Last December when the Democrats still had 59 Senators and a 40-seat majority in the House and a president in the White House, this president, they tried to raise taxes and the Senate couldn’t get a single Republican vote and couldn’t get five Democrats.
“They could not pass the kind of tax increase that the president now says he wants when they owned the government, when they had a huge majority in the Senate and House, and he was in the White House,” he said. “We know that won’t pass so we’d like to talk about it, something that could actually lead to a result and this could be an important opportunity for the country, for the two sides to come together and do something really significant that would impress the markets and impress the American people — but you do that when you have a spending and debt problem by reducing spending and debt.
“I’m perplexed — I am completely perplexed. I know they know it can’t pass,” McConnell said. “Well, fortunately, we still have time for the folks on the other side to sober up and get real here about what can actually pass in the Congress and address the problem. It’s not too late for us to still come together, but we have reached an impasse and I think it’s important for the public to know that.”
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