Everyone must share in budget pain -- including Kentuckians, McConnell says

02/14/2011 08:03 PM

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell hinted at the frustrating position he and his congressional colleagues will be in as groups and officials publicly cheer federal spending cuts but privately ask them for additional funds.

McConnell told more than 300 Republicans in Louisville on Saturday night that Republicans were going to push for substantial cuts to government spending, which would mean less money available for projects and infrastructure in Kentucky.

“I’ve got plenty of people coming up to me saying, ‘I really favor what you’re doing but by the way, here’s my little piece of it here,’” McConnell said, speaking at the Jefferson County Lincoln Day Dinner. “Look, everybody’s going to have to do with less if we’re going to get this job done.”

But McConnell told the Republican audience he expected Democratic President Barack Obama to abandon his initial agenda and continue moving toward compromising with Republicans on key issues.

McConnell, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984, opened his 20-minute speech on Saturday by expressing his gratitude to freshman U.S. Sen. Rand Paul for making him appear more moderate.

“I think we make a great team. I’d never thought I’d see the day when I’d be viewed as the sensible alternative,” he said.

Paul, for his part, praised McConnell for holding the conservative line, particularly in negotiations with the White House.

And of the other major storyline in Congress — the fate of the health care law — Paul said he expects it is more likely to be undone in a court decision than through repeal.

- Ryan Alessi

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