McConnell: Debt limit a 'great opportunity' to talk about spending

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). said the rapidly approaching debt limit is not a problem, but a "great opportunity" to address government spending.

The Senate Republican leader also made clear that he will need to see spending reforms in the short, medium, and long-term if he is going to vote for an increase to that $14.3 trillion limit, which the government expects to hit Monday.

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"Rather than thinking of this as a crisis, I think of this as an opportunity to come together," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

McConnell advocated for a hard two-year spending cap be included in any debt limit increase, arguing that the divided Congress was unlikely to pass a unified budget resolution during that time.

He also said something must be done in the medium term in both discretionary and mandatory spending, as well as tackling entitlements over the long term.

To be more specific, McConnell said that any deal that convinces credit rating agency Standard & Poor's to boost their prognostication on the government finances would win his support. The agency gave the government's debt a "negative outlook" earlier this month, citing concerns over the federal deficit and debt.

"Standard & Poor's would be a good indicator," he said. "If they are impressed with what we’ve done, then that will mean the markets think the Americans are going to get their act together."

However, he again made clear that Republicans will not support any deal that includes tax increases.

"There aren't going to be any tax increases, that was settled by last November's election," he said.


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