Paul/Mulvaney Conference Call: Mitch McConnell Should Do His Job, Or ‘Just Quit and Go Home’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks with reporters after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol July 21, 2015 in Washington, DC.
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Washington, DC

“If [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] doesn’t really want to do his job” when it comes to budgeting, “he should just quit and go home,” South Carolina Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney says. “If he’s going to make it where the president gets to run the country unless the Congress disapproves something? That’s a joke. So no, I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Mulvaney is a member of the House Freedom Caucus. On a Monday conference call, presidential contender Rand Paul noted that the Freedom Caucus “represents the majority of Republicans.” At issue was whether or not McConnell will advance a bill with a debt limit disapproval process, leaving the Senate in position to offer little more than a perfunctory protest vote against Obama’s profligate spending.

There’s more on what Paul and Mulvaney are advocating via The Hill.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who is running for president, and members of the House Freedom Caucus, which played a central role in pressing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to resign, want to attach to debt legislation a plan to balance the budget in five years.

“I think it’s important that we use this leverage,” Paul told reporters during a telephone press conference Monday afternoon, noting that the House passed a similar proposal attached to the debt limit in 2011 and it resulted in Obama agreeing to historic cuts to discretionary spending.

Paul said Republicans he has met across the country while campaigning have pressed him not to let a clean extension of borrowing authority sail through the Congress.

He says members of the House Freedom Caucus will back his demand.

“Those in the Freedom Caucus are hearing the same message that people want us to exert leverage to use the power of the purse,” he said.

“The whole purpose to have a debt ceiling is to sit back and use it as an opportunity to figure out why you’re borrowing so much money,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters on the call.

Paul and Mulvaney say the debt-limit increase should be paired with a plan to cut the deficit, cap future spending and pass a balanced budget amendment to the debt-limit increase.

Mulvaney did offer Paul some cover, saying, “that his comments about McConnell, who has endorsed Paul’s presidential bid, had nothing to do with the junior senator from Kentucky;” however, it was still abundantly clear that the burden for what both Paul and Mulvaney are advocating rests squarely on McConnell’s slumping shoulders in the Senate.

“This is no reflection at all on Rand, because this is just a lowly House member,” Mulvaney told reporters.

Paul conceded a debt ceiling increase could likely move through Congress without any spending overhaul and said there were no assurances about Senate consideration.

Conservative leaders in the Senate and House on Monday said they would not support raising the nation’s debt limit without significant spending reforms, increasing pressure on GOP leaders ahead of a Nov. 3 deadline.