McConnell dismisses importance of Gang of Six
May 10th, 2011
07:06 PM ET
11 years ago

McConnell dismisses importance of Gang of Six

Washington (CNN) - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the importance of the so-called "Gang of Six" bipartisan talks, saying he does not believe the group of senators will come up with a deficit reduction plan to pair with increasing the debt ceiling.

"With all due respect to the Gang of Six, or any other bipartisan discussions going on this issue, the discussions that can lead to a result between now and August are the talks being led by Vice President Biden," said McConnell, of Kentucky.

The blunt words will hardly be welcome news to the senators who have been meeting for months behind closed doors, searching for a bipartisan way to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion dollars over 10 years.

The original goal of the group was to find common ground to reduce the deficit, with that reduction not connected to raising the debt ceiling.

But negotiations have gone on since January without a breakthrough. And now, new Biden-led deficit reduction talks with congressional leaders – with those talks having the urgent goal of increasing the debt ceiling - seem to have overshadowed the Gang of Six talks.

When asked by CNN if he thinks those discussions and the work they have done is now irrelevant, McConnell said "I commend them for their efforts," but he made clear that he believes the discussions that matter are those where House and Senate Democrats and Republicans are represented, as well as the White House - which he called critically important, noting that the president is "the only American out of 307 million of us who can sign a bill into law."

McConnell's remarks were in response to a question from CNN about the fact that sources familiar with the Gang of Six talks say they are discussing getting rid of some tax loopholes and expenditures, which many Republicans call tax increases.

McConnell, like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has made clear he will not support any deficit reduction deal to increase the debt ceiling that includes tax increases.

The gang of six includes three Republicans – Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma; and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho - and three Democrats - Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota; and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia.

Last week some sources suggested that talks had stalled because of differences over taxes, as well as how to rein in entitlement spending.

Durbin told CNN Tuesday reports that negotiations are in trouble are “inaccurate,” but - like other members of the negotiating group - said he could not give a time frame for when they could produce any deal.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Joe Biden • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. lgny

    So, he is going to undercut the plan before it's even announced. What a shame.

    That said, let's get the plan out where all of us can see it.

    May 10, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. David

    You are suggesting a "pork barrel" approach by working completely unrelated items into critical legislation??? You caused one international economic meltdown, grow up and stop playing politics with the middle class.

    May 10, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Adam

    Yes, let's listen to Mr. "Our top priority is making Obama a 1 term president" - not the economy, not debt reduction. To reduce debt, TWO things need to happen:

    1) Cut spending. GOP is okay with this one. However it must be gradual because we can't shock the system, and all economists agree with this

    2) INCREASE revenue. How do we do this? Close tax loopholes. Stop tax breaks. Maybe even raise taxes. Raised taxes should be EQUALLY spread amongst all citizens and classes, low to upper. However EQUAL is key. Upper wealth needs to do their part and not hide behind tax breaks. The big corporations and businesses pay so little. Mom and Pop businesses are overburdened. Politicians of both parties need to get out of the pursestrings of their rich masters

    May 10, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. Positive

    Of course he doesn't think there's a bipartisan answer. Afterall, all but 4 Republicans in House voted to destroy Medicare while giving more tax cuts to the wealthy. That's right, let the elderly die (because whos' going to give them any meaningful coverage with their little "voucher"), make sure the money lands in the insurance company's CEO's bonus check and cut taxes on the top 2% more.

    Obviously, no Democrats are going to go along with that!

    And to think that, given how united Republicans were in voting for this bill, if there were Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican President, that would be the law now! Really scary!

    May 10, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Larry

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the importance of the so-called "Gang of Six" bipartisan talks, saying he does not believe the group of senators will come up with a deficit reduction plan to pair with increasing the debt ceiling.

    Mitch just because you say so doesn't mean they won't have a workable budget plan
    By saying so you have painted your self as a shuffle along to get along stooge

    May 10, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. thomas

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is more concerned about Obama's birth certificate , WMD's, NPR , NRA, Abortion , and supporting agricultural subsidies to his home state .
    Goodbye you obstructionist dinosaur , you will not be elected again !

    May 10, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. chris24

    who voted for this idiot?

    to think hes considered a leader makes me ill!

    May 10, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. rhumba

    What a bitter old man he is.

    May 10, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Does this Republican want to finish the job his party started during the Bush Administration? Failing to pass the elevated debt ceiling should do it. We'd be relegated to the level of other 2nd world nations – as a bad credit risk. I've noticed that Speaker Boner wants to really cut spending – except the spending in his district. They want reductions as long as they still get elected and the wealthy continues to feed their coffers.

    May 10, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |