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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Mitch McConnell: White House spending proposal 'unacceptable'

By Felicia Sonmez

In his first public remarks since Thursday's bipartisan, bicameral meeting between congressional leaders and the White House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took aim at the administration's proposed $6.5 billion in spending cuts.

"The latest proposal is unacceptable and indefensible" to Republicans, McConnell said in a Senate floor speech Friday morning. He said White House proposal simply held to the status quo.

"It's time for the Washington Democrats to get serious," he said.

In a floor speech later, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) pushed back against the House Republican plan, arguing that it would make draconian cuts to medical research among other programs.

"It is so shortsighted, and it's an indication that when they came to write the budget, the House Republican leadership didn't focus thoughtfully" on the impact their cuts would have, Durbin said. The Republican argument, he said, is that "if you cut government spending, it's going to help no matter what you cut. Not true."

The Senate is slated to vote early next week on two competing budget plans, according to congressional aides. Neither budget proposal is expected to pass. Rather, the vote is expected to set the stage for further negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House on a measure that would keep the federal government funded through September.

Expected to be brought to the floor is the plan passed by the House last month, which would slash $61 billion from across federal agencies. The measure includes cuts that are strongly opposed by Senate Democrats, such as amendments that would defund Planned Parenthood and educational programs and curtail federal environmental regulations.

The other measure, put forth by the White House after Thursday's meeting with congressional leaders, would include more than $6 billion in cuts that have yet to be laid out in detail.

Neither plan is expected to garner the 60 votes necessary to avert a filibuster, but their failure would demonstrate that neither is tenable to the full Senate. That would likely pave the way for compromise, allowing leaders of both parties to return to their respective bases and make the case for greater or lesser cuts.

Congress has until March 18 to reach a deal to keep the federal government funded. Earlier this week, Obama signed into law a stopgap plan that would avert a shutdown at the end of the week. Democrats argue that they have met Republicans halfway on spending cuts, while Republicans contend that the Democrats' plan would not be any different from current spending.

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 4, 2011; 11:30 AM ET
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Next: Senate Democrats release government funding proposal; votes likely next week


Its apparent to all that Obama and the Dems do not want to curtail any spending and would drive America to become another Greece or California if they have their way. Forget Obama and the Dems, the GOP will have to prepare all budgets from this time forward as Obama has relinquished all ability and control of the budget to the Republicans with his inability or unwillingness to prepare a realistic budget.

Posted by: Realist201 | March 4, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Republicans know NOTHING about economics and even less about the American economy.

If they did, this country wouldn't be in the mess it's in today.

To Republicans the United States economy is nothing but "fuzzy numbers" and Republicans don't have a clue as to what any of those numbers mean.

Posted by: lindalovejones | March 4, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

When will people realize that simply cutting spending isn't enough? We need more revenue, plain and simple. PLEASE let those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire! Seems pretty simple.

Posted by: LALI2384 | March 4, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

TO: Realist201 who wrote:
“… the GOP will have to prepare all budgets from this time forward as Obama has relinquished all ability and control of the budget to the Republicans with his inability or unwillingness to prepare a realistic budget.”


Yeah we’ve seen the Republicans budget before and we’ve seen how much damage a “borrow and spend” Republican budget can do to this country, and that’s exactly what the President has to fix – the last stupid Republican budget that took care of everybody all over the world with our money, and left us OUT.

We already know Republicans want to send all of our money and all of our jobs overseas, and we already know you want to send our troops to Libya and Egypt.

That’s exactly why we DIDN’T vote to put any Republicans in the White House, and people who did vote to send Republicans to the House and Senate are already crying about what a horrible mistake they made.

Posted by: lindalovejones | March 4, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, rich taxpayers! I'm tired of carrying you. Let the Bush tax giveaway to the rich expire...rates rise a bit...government has money...we continue this focus on spending cuts...and it all gets better.

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | March 4, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Republicans and the White House are not making the CUTS.
Discretionary spending only accounts for a small percentage of the national budget.
With a 13 TRILLION dollar debt, you aren't going to deal with the deficit without making BIG DEEP CUTS IN THE BIG PROGRAMS
1. Slash the wasteful defense budget by 50%
per year until the deficit is paid off
2. Increase the age for Social Security to 70 years old. People are living healthier and a lot longer than they were back 40 billion dollars. Make stiffer penalties for fraud and eliminate programs that are most prone to the medical equipment program

What they are proposing now is just window dressing for political points. your jobs!!!

Posted by: naksuthin | March 4, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of both sides blaming each other when in fact both sides are to blame for the fiasco called a federal government. In fact the only difference between the parties is which of their hands they stick in your pocket. The dems use the left and the repubs the right. But once they are in the pockt both go for the jewels and grab. They get money and we get the pain. Lets shut the government down. At least they our politicians cannot do damage if they are gone. Then lets fire congress, both houses. I am tired of the rhetoric, hypocracy and lies. Congress is just another lobbing group for business and are just plain anti american citizens. Or better yet, send them to the mideast to teach the Arabs how not to set up a democtatic government.

Posted by: unshuldig | March 4, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Really? A $3.7 trillion budget and the dems can only come up with $6 billion? That would be approximately 0.27%. What a joke. The dems only strategy right now is to force a shutdown and hope people blame the republicans again. But it ain't 1996 anymore and Obama ain't Clinton. Miscellaneous facts you class warfare types: Top 5% of wage earners pays 59% of all income taxes; top 25% pays 86%; top 50% of earners pays 97%

Posted by: gonzali7 | March 4, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I need to clarify my numbers a little. A $6 billion cut is only 0.16% of the total budget. It gets to 0.27% when you at the $6 billion cut to the $4 billion cut in the current continuing resolution. I was being generous.

Posted by: gonzali7 | March 4, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

same cuts purposed by REPUBLICANS

Posted by: theoldmansays | March 4, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Biden is going to Russia next week. No hurry on the next funding meeting, we'll wait until he gets back.

Remember, $2 billion per week.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | March 4, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

gonzali7 wrote: "Really? A $3.7 trillion budget and the dems can only come up with $6 billion? That would be approximately 0.27%. What a joke. The dems only strategy right now is to force a shutdown and hope people blame the republicans again. But it ain't 1996 anymore and Obama ain't Clinton."

While your number are generally correct, you leave out the context and grossly misrepresent the issue.

The cuts that are being discussed come only from a 14% slice of the budget and are in addition to previus cuts.

These cuts are for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which is nearly half over. They would be roughly double this amounuts on an annualized basis. These cuts are not for the 2012 budget, which Congress can't even begin to deal with yet.

Of that "$3.7 trillion" budget that you reference, over 65% of it can't be cut by the president without a change in law. Other parts, like debt service, can't be cut at all.

So while your numbers are mathematically correct, they are simplistic and (purposefully?) misleading. Your reference to further cuts of 0.27% of the total budget as a "joke" just make you sound naive and uninformed.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | March 4, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Cut the defense budget by 40%, and let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire.

Next problem?

Posted by: lonquest | March 4, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

In the mid 1990's the former Speaker Newt Gingrich claims to have INCREASED the budget by an average of 2.9% per year during his reign as the Speaker and created 8 million jobs!

Therefore, the budget needs to be INCREASED by $110 billion to have the same impact!

Unless Boehner/Cantor/McConnel/Ryan do not believe in Newt!

Posted by: kishorgala | March 4, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, go after the Pentagon and the DOD, the top 2% and then we're talking some cuts!

Posted by: janetal2004gmailcom | March 4, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

A crazy thought occurred to me that spending and circulating the money in the economy creates jobs! And the job growth increases the revenue for the Government. And the increased revenue decreases the deficit.

What a crazy and silly thought!

Posted by: kishorgala | March 4, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

WAKE UP AMERICA! The GOP has put us on the road to FASCISM.
"Now some members of Congress seem to want to force a government showdown over all this. They are saying there will be no shared sacrifice for the rich, only sacrifices from the poor and middle-class, or we will shut down the government. The only people whose lives have returned to normal in America are the ones who precipitated our financial and economic crisis in the first place. They have all returned to record profits, while many others are still struggling with unemployment, stagnant wages, loss of benefits, home foreclosures, and more. "

Posted by: removeinfo1 | March 4, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Republican plans are fantasy. I don't want to live in Somalia. You shouldn't either. So hey, how bout those tax cuts for billionaires and lack of defense cuts?

Getting serious? Piss off, McConnell.

Posted by: ExConservative | March 4, 2011 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Gee Mr. McConnell why not do something different and really try to help this country & it's people ...... might be a first for a career politician:

We need revenue that you or the "our elected" representatives just will not address and it's there!!
THINK ABOUT THE FOLLOWING, if possible with an open mind!!

Has either political party had the "guts" to considered or do any of the following???:

Eliminate tax deductions given to certain large corporation that have not paid any taxes in years. Like Bank Of America, Price WaterhouseCooper, ITT, Bechtel, Boeing, and GE for example.

Eliminate those Oil Subsidies for these large international oil companies.
These profitable companies pay almost no tax & get help from out tax dollar.

Eliminate all those tax & tariff reductions plus "breaks," that Congress voted large companies that are taking American jobs over seas. Also, just mirror the tariffs & taxes that countries like China, Japan, South Korea and the European Countries are putting on American goods & services.

Rein in the large Banks & Wall Street firms by reenacting The Glass-Steagall Act; it just might bring some order into our financial institutions and markets. Oh yes this worked until it was eliminated under President Clinton.
Of course these financial firms do not want this done.

Plus just so Congress shares in the pain, just eliminate the special health care & retirement plans that Congress voted itself. Social Security can be stabilized if Congress was part of it and stopped raiding it!!

So far all I see is cuts that would hurt the middle class ........ if this continues, there will be no middle class to "put the burden" on. Then what??

Whatever happened to that government by the people for the people?
It seems to have vanished........ guess we would need lobbyists to throw money at these career politicians!!

We now have a Cashrarocy, instead of a Democracy in this country.
The best government that the moneyed can buy!!

Oh the uncollected taxes from the above sources are estimated to be about 14 trillion dollars!!

Posted by: bkarpus | March 5, 2011 7:42 AM | Report abuse

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