McConnell wants balanced-budget amendment

July 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his guns on the balanced-budget amendment, an aide said Saturday night.

"Senator McConnell and the entire Republican conference support the balanced budget amendment and are working toward its passage," McConnell aide John Ashbrook told United Press International. "If Democrats vote the same way many of them have talked about the BBA, we can get this done."

The Kentucky Republican wants a Senate vote on the amendment by the middle of the month.

"What Republicans want is simple: We want to cut spending now, we want to cap runaway spending in the future and we want to save our entitlements and our country from bankruptcy by requiring the nation to balance its budget," McConnell said this week in support of the balanced budget amendment. "We want to finally get our economy growing again at a pace that will lead to significant job growth. The Democrats' response has been a mystifying call for more stimulus spending and huge tax hikes on American job creators. That's not serious, and it is my hope that the president will take those off the table today so that we can have a serious discussion about our country's economic future."

However, The Hill had reported earlier Saturday that a GOP source it did not name had said a McConnell aide, who it did not identify, had made clear at a recent meeting of Senate Republican leadership staff that McConnell would not tie passage of the balanced budget amendment to raising the debt limit, which faces an Aug. 2 deadline. Tea Party leaders want the amendment included in a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

One unnamed GOP senator said demands by Tea Party senators for passage of the amendment before raising the debt limit is "not helpful," The Hill said.

McConnell Thursday invited President Obama to visit the Capitol.

"That way we can hear directly from Senate Republicans … why what he's proposing will not pass," McConnell said. "It's worth asking: 'Where in the world has President Obama been for the past month?'"

McConnell has said he isn't interested in negotiating with the White House as long as tax increases are on the table.

"Until the president comes off his desire to raise hundreds of billions in tax hikes there's nothing to negotiate. No meetings are planned," a Senate GOP aide said in The Hill report.

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