McConnell: Obama seems to want 'to drive us right off the cliff'; Holds out hope on entitlement reform

12/07/2012 06:07 PM

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell told the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Friday that talks to avert the fiscal cliff are going no where and that President Barack Obama is negotiating as if he’s prepared to “drive us right off the cliff.”

McConnell later told reporters he still hopes a deal can be cut by the end of the year to avoid expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts, known as “sequestration” — a remnant of leaders’ failed attempt to agree on more long term spending reforms last year.

Among the other points McConnell made in his remarks:

  • Curtailing the nation’s debt is the “obvious priority.” That includes making changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid before they become more financially unstable. The debt of $16 trillion has surpassed the gross domestic product of $15 trillion, which “looks a lot like Greece.”
  • He doesn’t think highly of Congress either. McConnell noted that recent polls have the approval rating of Congress at 10 percent. “I’m in the 90 percent who don’t approve,” he said.
  • He’s not budging on his opposition to tax increases. McConnell argued, as he has in the past, that raising rates on the top two percent of earners — those making more than $250,000 — would catch too many small businesses that file as individuals. He said while the president is correct to say that most small businesses don’t fall in that category, McConnell said a big proportion of the ones creating the jobs at the moment are in that group.

And later, when talking to reporters, he said he believes there is enough time before the end of the year to lay out changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Ron Napier wrote on December 08, 2012 10:42 AM :

    I find it interesting that McConnell is trying to distance himself from the horrible ratings of congress. He is one of the primary reasons for the negative ratings. The Congressional Research Service has debunked the myth about the so called benefits of tax cuts for the wealthy. Why he really chooses to adhere to that outmoded belief only he and his contributors know! Now is not the time to cut federal spending. Our economy is on the edge of another recession. Lets not push it into another one.

  • Mike wrote on December 08, 2012 02:30 PM :

    Yes. Before changing ANYTHING about Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, and hopefully INCREASING Food Stamps in the budget so poor folk can eat food that is good for them, McConnell needs to be willing to yield to the actual results of the Presidential Election. The fiscal cliff is a lie in the first place. There is NO cliff. There is a molehill that will cause some problems, but that could be repaired as soon as the next congress begins which is more heavily Democratic than this one. The CLIFF metaphor is being used to make poor and lower middle class folk willing to take a blow to their welfare just to keep the country from going over the cliff that is NOT a cliff.

    When McConnell is willing to start talking about he really expensive “entitlements” like fossil fuel subsidies, the bloated military budget, and the ridiculous benefits members of congress receive, then I’ll believe he is something other than a complete corporate tool who only cares about the very very wealthy and gives less than a hoot about the vast majority of his supposed constituents.

    Even many of those who disagree with me about the so-called entitlements of Social Protections have a fair chance, in the future, of suddenly realizing that they are toast because they allowed them to be ended or reduced.

    I only wish the people of Kentucky actually read and studied the issues and McConnell’s actual record when it comes to how he feels about and acts toward the average Kentuckian.

  • waybert17 wrote on December 11, 2012 10:35 PM :

    I’d like to correct everyone here, but the country got exactly what it wanted: Divided Government. The Republicans won the Congress again, and President Obama won the Presidency again. If the Democrats had not lost around 5-million votes (since 2008), they could have easily taken over the whole federal government again. Unlike Mike, I’m smart enough to know that the deficit problems we are facing are the result of bad economic policies of Democrats/Republican politicians. Spending a trillion dollars a year of money that you do not have, as President Obama has been doing, isn’t very smart or good for the economy (as anyone with eyes can see). And raising taxes on the wealthy (about $84-billion in new revenue a year) isn’t really going to solve this deficit problem. Mike, really? There just isn’t something right here when they (our politicians of both major parties) are telling us they are going to raise about $1.6 trillion dollars in new taxes over the next decade….but they’re going to increase spending (and the deficit) by another $13-trillion dollars. Does anyone really see any political courage in any politician today?

  • waybert17 wrote on December 12, 2012 10:57 AM :

    Romney had 151,108 more votes than John McCain received, but Obama had 5,313,279 less votes than he received in 2008.

    What happened to the 5,162,171 voters who cast ballots for Obama or McCain in 2008 but did not vote for either Obama or Romney in 2012?

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