Republicans toe the party line on budget negotiations
May 15th, 2011
11:19 AM ET
3 years ago

Republicans toe the party line on budget negotiations

Washington (CNN) – While the budget negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden continue with members of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell maintained his position that a vote to increase the debt limit must be accompanied by changes in spending.

In order to vote to increase the limit of $14.3 trillion that the government expects to reach in coming months, McConnell called on Congress to institute a spending ceiling for the next two years and also address discretionary and mandatory spending and entitlement reforms, including Medicare and Social Security.


"We need to do something significant short-term, medium-term and long-term," McConnell said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

However, the Kentucky Republican said any agreement will not include tax increases.

"There aren't going to be any tax increases; that was settled by last November's election," McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "The president knows that."

His comments come as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded last week that the size of cuts must exceed the size of any debt ceiling increases.

McConnell did not respond directly to Boehner's comments, making it unclear if he supports Boehner's equal dollar amount, or would prefer a different figure. However, he did say a deal that receives a positive prognosis from credit rating agency Standard & Poor's would win his support.

The rating agency recently downgraded the possible long-term prospects for the U.S. economy, and McConnell said Congress needs to reverse that outlook.

"Standard and Poor's would be a good indicator … if they are impressed with what we've done then that'll mean the markets think the Americans are going to get their act together," McConnell said. "That's my definition of significant."

Also appearing on CNN, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin repeated Boehner's line on a possible debt ceiling deal, saying "for every dollar the president wants to raise the debt limit, we are saying cut at least a dollar's worth of spending."

"That is the necessary thing to do to stave off a debt crisis," Ryan added.


Filed under: Budget • Congress • Mitch McConnell • Paul Ryan • Republicans
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. A disgusted former Republican

    McConnell sounds like a broken record. Why are republicans trying their best to destroy the middle class and the poor? What would Jesus say about these christian bigots?

    May 15, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Bickerstaff

    "Toe" the line. Viva pedantry.

    May 15, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. a in austin

    Drawing another line in the sand? The people in November voted those in to help create new jobs, not enrich the rich even more! To strike tax increases out of the talks would be ridiculous because we all know the increases would fall on the backs of the poor and middle class. YOU CAN NOT CONTINUE TO CUT YOUR INCOME AND NOT EXPECT TO HAVE SHORTAGES! Why would Mcconnell be concerned – he's only worth about $32 million.

    May 15, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. ed bailey

    Throw evert republican in the bay. By the time you start getting to the bottom of the barrel you MIGHT see a change of attitude. I almost said HEART, but I caught myself!!!!!!!

    May 15, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Anthony

    Republicans can pretend to toe a hard line on the debt ceiling, but once the business community "lays down the law"- they don't want a global meltdown if the debt ceiling is not raised- Republicans will cave. They know who their bosses are.

    Also, if we accept McConnell's logic that the 2010 election settled the issue of tax increases, why did Republicans fight tooth and nail against the health care reform? Wasn't that issue settled by the 2008 election?

    May 15, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    GW Bush raise the debt ceiling 7 TIMES during his presidency – and not ONCE did the Republicans say we needed to rein in spending.

    You want to balance the budget, McConnell?

    1. Quit subsidizing the oil industry, which is enjoying record profits and DON'T NEED OUR HELP.
    2. Raise the FICA income limit from the current $106,000 to $250,000.
    3. Close tax loopholes that allow American corporations to off-shore their profits.
    4. Raise the highest tax rates from the current 36% to 39% (what it was under your saint, Ronald Reagan).

    Cutting spending on programs that help the most vulnerable among us and cutting funding to education and infrastructure, will result in turning our country into just another third-world backwater, where the top 2% own and control everything, where the Middle Class no longer exists, and the rest of us live in poverty.

    THAT'S where your party wants us to go – and you know where you and your party can go, McConnell: STRAIGHT TO HADES!

    May 15, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republicans always listen their buddies big financial institution so they will increase the debt limit this is just drama like “where is the birth certificate” they knew there is birth certificate

    May 15, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. ThinkAgain

    Tax cuts for the rich don't create jobs – DEMAND does. And if the vast majority of our workforce is barely scraping buy, their lack of buying power brings down the whole economy.

    But McConnell and the Greedy Old Party know this – and their concern is to impoverish us and build the emerging economies in India and China.

    They just don't have the STONES to admit that their tax cuts for the wealthy plan – like all their policies – are PROVEN FAILURES and that they are TEARING DOWN our country.

    May 15, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. bearced

    Mr. McConnel, You were right there in line with your president George W Bush when the decision to destroy the countries financial stability was made. Cutting taxes at a time when the budget was running a small surplus, instead of continuing down a road that could have paid of our debt was ridiculous, then we started 2 wars ( 1 of them completely wrong ) without any way to pay for them. Next we added medicare part B ( fair plan, wrong time ). I agree this countries spending problems need to be addressed, but as speaker Gingrich said this morning fraud and inefficiency cost us upwards of 200 billion a year. So if you are truly concerned with the budget of this country I suggest you look at modest tax increases eliminate fraud and inefficiency and allow the WORKING poor and senior citizens in this country to maintain some kind of dignity.

    May 15, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. B

    Just look at this guy who totally represents todays GOP. Out of touch with Americans true problems, old,rigid, uncompromising partisan who does not get it at all!

    The Republicans are a complete embarrassment to this country now. They are irrelevant and incapable of demonstrating that they understand or are able to present balanced changes that will move Everyone forward.

    They are no more than Corporate Whores

    May 15, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    @A disgusted former Republican, Jesus answered your question in Matthew 25:40:

    [Jesus] will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, 'Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.' "

    May 15, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Make the spending cuts to the oil industry subsidies (over $20 BILLION) and to the defense budget (the military has plenty of redundancy and waste – and they've got a list of things that can go without affecting our national security).

    Keep your hands off those programs that help the most vulnerable in our society, as well as infrastructure.

    And while you're at it, all you independently-wealthy Congress members and Senators: Cut your pay and eliminate your lifetime health and retirement benefits. Do like everyone else, and when you change jobs, get your health insurance and retirement from your NEXT employer.

    May 15, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Donna

    It is easy to see what side McConnell and Ryan are taking in the deficit/debt ceiling debate. It is not the American People who they say they are representing. A sign of a true statesman is the ability to listen to the other side and make intelligent decisions. Going in with a closed party line at this time is not helpful or appropriate. Hopefully in time we can elect individuals that can guide us in the right direction in which there is shared responsibility which brings out the best in this country.

    May 15, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    "We need to do something significant short-term, medium-term and long-term," McConnell said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
    --------------
    That was Sen. McConnell's answer to the first question; how much damage would not raising the debt ceiling cause. Rep. Ryan who followed him didn't just dodge questions, he, too, used the program to broadcast Republican policy. I agree with the conclusion that Republicans are continuing their hard right ideological stance, instead of showing a willingness to negotiate on all issues or a willingness to hold hands and compromise.

    This position was continued by the Governer of South Carolina, whose name escapes me at the moment, who appeared on ABC this morning. She was asked what advice whould she offer to Republican candidates coming to her state, and replied that she would tell them to stop criticizing the President on policy and start offering concrete solutions. Sounds good. When prompted for a closing remark, she stated more advice for Republican candidates; that they should continuing talking about policy differences with the Democrats and how the current agenda will not work. A direct contradiction to her previous statement. In other words, her closing remarks were straight of the page of playbook for this week/month.

    May 15, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    ThinkAgain wrote:
    Tax cuts for the rich don't create jobs – DEMAND does. And if the vast majority of our workforce is barely scraping buy, their lack of buying power brings down the whole economy.
    ------------------------
    It depends upon how you look at it. Personal tax cuts do not create jobs. But, tax laws have been modified over the past 30 years to allow "small businesses" owners to combine their personal and business taxes into one statement. What is not being said is that a "small business" does not refer to gross profits, but rather to the number of owners. This means that a great number of the largest multi-billion dollar corporations can escape through many tax loop holes designed for individuals, and completely bail out on paying "corporate" taxes for the simple reason that they are privately owned by one or two individuals.

    May 15, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. rusty155

    Want does the Republican have It In for the Middle Class, the POOR , the OLD and disable. The Bush Tax cut been In place now for six years , They don't work so It time to get RID OF THEM. You are not doing what the American people wanted , the Only thing you Republican are doing Is making thing worst. Repeat you are not doing what the American People wanted. And you will find out In 2012. You must rise the dept ceiling be for It to late. Or It may ruin America all together and the value of the dollar. And I'm sure your RICH Friend and Big BUSINESS won't like That. I know the American people won't. You Republican better wise up.

    May 15, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    I try hard not to hate any human being, but I'll make the exception for turtle face. In fact, his words and actions have proven to me he has no human decency, no human scruples, no human morals, and in many ways is NOT HUMAN.

    May 15, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans spend so much time chasing President Obama like a rabid dog until they don't know the right foot from the left.

    May 15, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Marry

    @ A disgusted former Republican, a in Austin, Anthony, ThinkAgain….........
    Thank you for your great comments – you all put it so well! McConnell and the GOP/TP just do not want to work for ALL Americans! Only the rich…We do not want “Them” back now, do we?

    May 15, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. lu

    So now we have new terrorists – the GOP – sorry to sound so dramatic – but what they are doing is horrendous – they say if they do not get what they want – they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling – basically "blowing up" and destroying our economy. They are not willing to compromise – it matters not that they only control the House and not the Senate or the Presidency – if their demands are not met – they will destroy us – despicable, hideous, abhorrent. Yes, we need to fix the problem, but the GOP should not be in the business of threatening to destroy our economy if tax increases are part of the plan or of they do not get the cuts they want. We should be negotiating and compromising to get the best plan. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy alone cost us nearly a trillion over ten years – so to leaving them in place means we have to cut another trillion form services for everyday Americans or from entitlements – why can't we go back to the taxes and budget plans of the Clinton years that were designed to get our debt and deficits back on track? It did not hurt the economy one bit and things were quite prosperous until Bush came along and cut taxes and increased spending by trillions – Now they are holding us hostage too – just to keep Bush's failed policies in place? – I've had ENOUGH – so yes – I will call the GOP leadership TERRORISTS – threatening to destroy us unless their demands are met – it is simply true -

    May 15, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Susan Wrenn

    Why would you let Paul Ryan escape without addressing the deal which gave the pharmaceutical companies the money to save Medicare? Why would you not ask him to forego the lifetime cadillac plan he and his family enjoy while asking those less fortunate to do without? How could you let him off the hook for transferring the wealth of the middle into the hands of the few like the oil companies? And allowing Mr. Ryan to first say that it was the spending of the last two years, and then escape by saying that "both parties were guilty" – IS CNN AFRAID OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?

    May 15, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. BIll

    When the GOP refusal to address the debt ceiling crashes the economy (for a second time), maybe people will finally wake up and see what these reprobates are all about. The debt ceiling vote has always been, and should always be, a stand-alone issue. It is too important to play politics with. But, Mr McConnell and his ilk will disregard warnings fron the Secretary of the Tresury, the Fed. chairman and the world's leading econmists. I hope everyone who voted for the GOP last fall is happy with what they got.

    May 15, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    @rusty155
    Want does the Republican have It In for the Middle Class, the POOR , the OLD and disabled?.
    --------------------------------------------–
    Try googling "imperialist capitalism." The highest state of capitalism is one where the only export is capitalism. Unrestrained capitalism is to economics what unrestrained communism is to politics.

    May 15, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    @rusty155
    Want does the Republican have It In for the Middle Class, the POOR , the OLD and disabled?.
    --------------––
    Try googling "imperialist capitalism." The highest state of capitalism is one where the only export is CAPITAL. Unrestrained capitalism is to economics what unrestrained communism is to politics.

    May 15, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. bunkai

    the GOP is stuck in this alternate reality. Borrow trillions to give to the rich and corporations,especially the oil industry. to pay for it reduce services to the people that need it the most. Oil corps are making record profits and getting tax refunds? What's wrong with this picture. The hypocracy from the GOP as they spout moral christian values and at the same time ignoring the basic teachings that say take care of the least of those while padding the wallets of the richest – and folks fall for it! It's just astounding that the media isn't calling them out on it.

    May 15, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |