As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his first State of the Union speech before a Republican-controlled Congress Tuesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the president does not set the agenda for Congress.
The White House has for days been touting some of what Obama will talk about, including $320 billion in new taxes and plans to offer free community college tuition.
McConnell, appearing on Fox News Channel's "Special Report,"
said Obama sounds like he is making a campaign speech, though he has only two years left in office.
"It is hard to be encouraged by the utterances that the president has made in almost a defiant way since the November election which was a defeat for his party, not only at the congressional level but state and local level, as well," McConnell said. "I don't think the American people were sending a message that they were happy or wanted more of the same."
By electing divided government, voters were saying they want Republicans and Democrats to figure out things they can agree on, he said. "They were not saying that they wanted the president of the United States to set the agenda in the new majority in the United States Senate."
More tax increases are not needed, McConnell said, especially on small businesses.
"He is certainly correct that the middle class has not enjoyed any kind of recovery," McConnell said. If there has been recovery it has been among people at the top, he said, and those are the very people Obama is complaining "are somehow getting away with something."
The top 1 percent "have made out in fine fashion during the Obama years," McConnell said. "It's the middle and lower income people who are behind."
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