GOP sees possible Dem divisiveness

March 23, 2009 at 6:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI) -- When the president and vice president visit Capitol Hill, it usually means defection among party ranks, a key U.S. Senate Republican said Monday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said President Barack Obama is to visit congressional Democrats Wednesday, preceded by a trip to Congress by Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday.

A president usually comes a-callin' when "there have been reports of potential defections," McConnell said.

"My impression is that the administration is getting quite nervous about having adequate Democratic support to pass this budget," McConnell during a news conference. "I don't think I've witnessed this level of unease about a budget certainly in the time that I've been here."

The Senate is to begin debate next week on the $3.6 trillion budget proposed by the Obama administration.

Any queasiness over the budget is justified, said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., briefly under consideration as Obama' commerce secretary.

"If the American people look at this budget, they should be extremely concerned about what it's going to do to their children's capacity to have a high quality of life, what it's going to do to the ability of this nation to basically continue to function as a fiscally responsible country," Gregg said.

Gregg said projections indicate there would be $17 trillion worth of debt at the end of 10 years, translating a debt-to-gross national product ratio "we have not seen in this country since the end of World War II when we were trying to pay off the war debt."

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