WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for smart and targeted spending cuts, not another gimmicky tax hike bill, to replace across-the-board cuts set to take effect in 15 days:
“In just 15 days, significant across-the-board cuts are set to take effect unless the President and Senate Democrats come up with a plan to replace them with smarter, targeted spending cuts.
“The President and the Senate Majority have known about this deadline for more than a year. Yet, here we are, just days before this so-called sequester is set to hit, and a familiar scenario is playing out once again.
“It goes something like this:
“Phase 1: Republicans identify a challenge and propose a solution.
“Phase 2: Liberals sit on their hands until the last minute.
“Phase 3: They offer some gimmicky tax hike bill designed to fail – then blame everyone else when it does.
“Phases 1 and 2 have gone exactly according to plan. House Republicans proposed and passed plans to replace the sequester months ago. And as if on cue, Senate Democrats then doggedly refused to consider any of them, much less offer any of their own. So, here we are — again — at Phase 3, which means it’s now time for them to swoop in with the gimmick.
“That’s why our friends on the other side have been huddled behind closed doors with the pollsters and P.R. spinmeisters. They’ve been busy devising the most appealing-sounding tax hikes they can.
“Don’t believe me? Just watch what happens now.
“Later today, Senate Democrats are expected to roll out the gimmick. Remember, this is not a solution — even they know it can’t pass, that’s the idea — it’s a political stunt designed to mask the fact that they’ve offered no solutions, and don’t plan to offer any. And it’s a total waste of time.
“For nearly two months, I’ve been coming to the floor to ask Senate Democrats to work with us on a bill that could pass both houses of Congress
“If they were the least bit serious about a solution, they’ve had more than a year to write a bill in committee, bring it to the floor, vote on amendments, get it to the House, and fix this. Instead, they waited right up until the moment of crisis, just like they always do, and then got together — not with a goal of finding a solution, but to hatch an escape plan aimed at making Republicans look like the bad guys.
“Their whole goal here isn’t to solve the problem, it’s to have a show-vote that’s designed to fail, call it a day, and wait for someone else to pick up the pieces.
“Well, my message this morning is simple: There won’t be any easy off-ramps on this one. The days of 11th hour negotiations are over.
“Washington Democrats may have gotten used to Republicans bailing them of their own lack of responsibility. But those days have passed. Look: they run the Senate. They run the White House. It’s time they started acting like it.
“As a first step, Senate Democrats need to honor their pledge to return to regular order.
“Legislation that passes through this chamber should be written with input from both parties; it should get a fair, public vetting in committee; and Senators should get a chance to offer amendments.
“Just yesterday, the President’s own Treasury nominee called for a return to the regular order. So it’s time for the President and Senate Democrats to put the games and the gimmicks aside.
“It’s time they stop waiting until the last minute to get things done around here. People are tired of it. I know my constituents in Kentucky are tired of it.
“They’ve had enough of the political theater. It’s time to put the stunts aside and work on solutions. That’s what we were sent here to do. We should do it.”