McConnell Draws the Line at More Tax Increases
Will Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have any better luck than Speaker Boehner at preventing any more tax increases?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday ruled out raising tax revenues again on top of the tax hike on the wealthy in the "fiscal cliff" deal, and said the full focus must now be on spending cuts.
"The tax issue is finished, over, completed," the Kentucky Republican said on ABC's "This Week."
"That's behind us. Now the question is what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future, and that's our spending addiction."
In an another appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," McConnell said he favored tax reform, but it should not increase revenue.
McConnell said the White House should start working with Congress immediately to determine spending cuts to reduce the deficit, before the March deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit brings another fiscal crisis.
"We could do things very quickly, these are not new issues," he said on ABC.
Congress and the White House reached a deal last week in the nick of time to avoid the fiscal cliff of severe tax increases and spending cuts that many economists said could have tipped the country into recession.
But Republicans complained the deal was focused almost entirely on raising revenue through a tax increase on families making more than $450,000 a year, and did not make significant spending cuts or reduce deficits.
Asked whether Republicans would threaten a U.S. credit default in its press for spending cuts, McConnell told ABC, "It's not even necessary to get to that point. Why aren't we trying to settle the problem? Why aren't we trying to do something about reducing spending?"
Probably because Democrats aren't interested in spending cuts.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi isn't ruling out pushing for upper-income earners to pay more even after the "fiscal cliff" deal that raised their taxes.
She tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that "I'm saying that's not off the table." The California Democrats isn't getting into specifics but she does discuss changes to tax law that might involve deductions and other breaks.
The former House speaker also says the current Republican Party isn't the "Grand Old Party that did so many things for America that commanded so much respect." She says the country needs a strong GOP but she describes the current party as a "really over-the-edge crowd" that's dominated by an element of "anti-government ideologues" committed to opposing President Barack Obama.
The president has also indicated he isn't finished soaking the rich to pay for his spending schemes, so it becomes a question of just how committed McConnell and the Republicans are to drawing a line in the sand on tax increases.
The fact is, the president and the Democrats won't agree to any meaningful spending cuts or entitlement reform unless they have no choice. The debt limit debate would seem to be tailor-made to force liberals to deal with the reality of our deficit and debt situation -- unless they can turn that issue as well back on Republicans and make them take the blame for the consequences. That probably won't be as easy this time, as the American people are in the mood for Congress to achieve spending cuts (entitlement reform may not be as popular).
A strong stand now by McConnell and Boehner on taxes will go a long way toward reviving confidence in the GOP and heartening activists and members in advance of midterms in 2014.