The spending proposals President Obama made in Tuesday night's State of the Union address are "completely inadequate," the Senate's top Republican said Wednesday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) rejected the five-year freeze in domestic discretionary spending as not doing enough to rein in spending.
"I did find his suggestion on spending reductions completely inadequate," McConnell said on MSNBC. "And I think we are bound for some disagreements on the issue of reducing our annual debt."
Obama's offer of a five-year freeze was meant as an overture to lawmakers, particularly Republicans in the House, who are eager to cut spending and bring down the debt. But his announcement in last night's State of the Union address was met with tepid applause from Democrats, who aren't pleased with spending cuts, and Republicans, who were hoping for more aggressive measures.
The president called for the spending freeze amid an appeal for more strategic investments in education and technology — rhetoric that Republicans have condemned as simply masking new spending.
The GOP House has called for rolling back spending to 2008 levels, a move that would save roughly $50 billion for the rest of this fiscal year. Republican leaders in that chamber are facing pressure from their more conservative members to slash funding even further, and more quickly.
McConnell seemed to endorse the rollback to 2008 levels, saying that such cuts would be enough to earn his satisfaction.
"We need to get back the 2008 level; that's a significant whack out of our annual discretionary spending," he said. "That is a significant reduction."