The PJ Tatler

McConnell Says GOP Won't Act 'Scary,' Earnest Says That's 'Not Exactly the Highest Ceiling'

White House press secretary Josh Earnest contends that despite new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) best efforts, the GOP might still be “scary” in the 114th Congress.

McConnell told the Washington Post that he doesn’t “want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome.”

“I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority,” he said.

Now-Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office told the Post: “Senator McConnell heads a caucus that is obsessed with rigging the game against working people in favor of wealthy special interests. That’s a scary fact indeed, and he won’t be able to hide it.”

“Typically, the beginning of the year is a time for optimism, where we set our sights high, where we really pursue our grandest ambitions, we make New Year’s resolutions for ourselves about how much we’re going to read more books or go to the gym more often. And suggesting that they’re going to be less scary is not exactly the highest ceiling I can imagine for their legislative accomplishments this year, but a worthy pursuit nonetheless,” Earnest told reporters on Monday.

“…But, ultimately, I guess we’ll have to sort of see whether or not members of Congress choose to abide by the admonition of the new Senate Majority Leader.”

Earnest added that “one example I guess I can think of is the prospect of defaulting on the debt for the first time in our nation’s history is a scary prospect.”

“Hopefully it’s not going to come to that. But we’ll have to see,” he said.

“I guess I would say it this way. The president does believe that there are some areas where we can cooperate. So setting aside whether or not they’re scary or not, we do believe that there may be an opportunity for us to find some areas of common ground where Democrats and Republicans can come together to open up overseas markets for American businesses or to reform the tax code in a way that would actually make it more simple and more fair, and close loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and the well-connected. So there may be some things that we can do to cooperate and actually make some progress for the American people.”