On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) objected to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) proposal to take up President Barack Obama’s request to have the unprecedented power to raise the debt ceiling without getting approval from Congress.
McConnell made the offer on the Senate floor a day after President Barack Obama indicated that he may veto his own tax hike proposals if the final fiscal cliff deal does not give him the unilateral power to raise the debt ceiling. Obama said he did not want “to play that game” where Republicans demand spending cuts to give Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling.
McConnell said that Obama “has been saying all he wants is to raise taxes on the top two percent so he can tackle the debt and the deficit,” but now Obama “finally revealed that’s not really his true intent.”
“By demanding the power to raise the debt limit whenever he wants by as much as he wants, he showed what he’s really after is assuming unprecedented power to spend taxpayer dollars without any limit,” McConnell said.
McConnell said Republicans will not give Obama such powers.
“I assure you: it’s not going to happen,” McConnell said. “The American people want Washington to get spending under control. And the debt limit is the best tool we have to make the President take that demand seriously.”
McConnell noted that on Wednesday, Reid blocked McConnell’s amendment to a bill that would have forced a Senate floor vote on Obama’s proposal to avert the fiscal cliff. Reid did so because the Democrats do not support Obama’s initial offer, which included $1.6 trillion in new tax increases, a new round of stimulus projects, and unilateral power for the president to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval.
“Yesterday afternoon, I came to floor and offered President Obama’s proposal on the fiscal cliff to show that neither he, nor Democrats in Congress, are acting in good faith in these negotiations,” McConnell said. “With just a few weeks to go before a potentially devastating and entirely avoidable blow to the economy, the President proposed a plan that the members of his own party won’t even vote for.
McConnell added: “So I think it’s safe to say at this point that the President isn’t interested in a balanced agreement. He’s not particularly interested in avoiding the fiscal cliff. And he’s clearly not interested in cutting spending.”