WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The leader of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate said it was time to talk spending cuts, and lots of them.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in ABC's "This Week" that President Obama had gotten a tax deal from the GOP in the fiscal cliff crisis and now had to reciprocate with serious reductions in spending.
"Now it's time to pivot and turn to the real issue, which is our spending addiction," McConnell said. "And we ought to do it together now. We all know we've got to quit spending so much."
McConnell said the target would have to be "very popular entitlement programs" since that's where the money was. At the same time, he predicted, the continuing economic woes in the United States would make it possible for a divided Congress to reach an acceptable deal.
"Ironically, divided government is the perfect time to do it, because you can pull both sides together and do things that need to be done for the future, and the American people will understand, since you did it together, it was absolutely necessary," McConnell said.
Speaking for the Democrats, freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., told ABC the Republicans on Capitol Hill continued to issue ultimatums on fiscal policy even though the November re-election of Obama proved they had a weak hand that many American voters did not support.
"I think what we need to do is stop talking in ultimatums and start talking about how we resolve the issue, with a sense of urgency," said Heitkamp, who was elected in a state that went for Republican Mitt Romney in the presidential vote. "That's what the American people sent us here to do."