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

12/07/2012 05:07 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 is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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