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McConnell: "It's Time Washington Take The Hit, Not The Taxpayers"

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell gave a blistering speech on the Senate floor this afternoon about the debt crisis and his upcoming meeting with President Obama. Transcript of Sen. McConnell's remarks below:

“A little later today, I’ll sit down with President Obama to discuss his request to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. And when I do, I intend make a request of my own: I intend to ask the President what he’s prepared to do, outside of raising taxes, about the massive deficits and debt that have accumulated on his watch.

“I will tell him what Republicans are looking for in this debate: to cut spending now, cap runaway spending in the future, save our entitlements from bankruptcy, and to get our economy moving.

“And I will tell him the truth about requests by some in his party that we increase spending and raise taxes as a way of solving the debt and jobs crisis that precipitated the President’s request to raise the debt limit: Not only are they counterproductive from the standpoint of an economic recovery; they’re also politically impossible, since Republicans oppose tax hikes and Democrats have already shown they won’t raise taxes in a down economy.

“So let’s start by taking both proposals off the table and focus on what can actually pass Congress, and what will actually spur the private sector to invest in our future and create jobs.

“Those who are calling for tax hikes as a part of these debt discussions either have amnesia about the fate of similar votes just six months ago — when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress as well as the White House — or they’re acting in bad faith, since we all know that including massive, job-killing tax hikes would be a poison pill. Let’s move past tax hikes, talk about what’s actually possible, and let’s talk about what has and hasn’t worked over the past two years.

“And on this second point, this much is clear: if government spending was the answer to an economic slowdown, we’d be in a boom right now. Instead, we’re facing record deficits and debt, and a seemingly endless stream of bad economic news. Despite massive spending increases by Democrats, millions have lost jobs.

“The problem here is that Washington spends too much. And that means Democrats are simply going to have to make the same kind of tough choices about Washington’s budget that most other Americans have been forced to make about their own budgets over the past two years. Last week, President Obama told a group of people he was prepared to bring down the deficit by trillions of dollars, but refused to list any of the ways he was willing to do it. All he did was list the things he refused to cut. And this weekend the President proposed even more deficit-financed spending, disguised as what he called an `investment’. He can’t have it both ways.

“At some point, the President needs to realize that the reason our debt has skyrocketed 35% over the past two years and that our annual deficit is now three times greater than the highest deficit the previous administration ever ran is that spending has spiraled completely out of control. And that the big-government policies of the past two years have to change.

“Just consider the failed Stimulus bill. When Democrats passed it, they said it was a one-time cash infusion that was supposed to keep unemployment below 8 percent. Two years later, with unemployment still hovering above 9 percent, they’re saying we need to keep up the Stimulus-level spending despite its obvious failure. Their commitment to spending and tax hikes is so deeply-held, it seems, they don’t even recognize the state of our economy or the fact that the tax and spend policies of the past two years have made matters worse, and that they have to change if we’re ever going to get out of the fiscal mess we’re in.

“Democrats seem to think the solution to our debt crisis is to ask taxpayers and struggling businesses to reward their economic stewardship with even more money to spend as they please. They don’t seem to understand that the voters didn’t elect dozens of additional Republicans to the House of Representatives last November because they wanted their taxes raised. They sent them here to reverse policies that failed.

“We have seen the consequences of giving Washington a blank check. It’s the reason we’re in this mess to begin with.

“So my message to the President is simple:

“It’s time for Washington to focus on fixing itself.

“It’s time Washington take the hit, not the taxpayers.”

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