McCarthy: House Republicans still pushing for balanced budget amendment

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the debt-ceiling proposal being negotiated by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the White House was “moving in the right direction.”

“It looks as though the framework could be there, but we'll wait to see the details,” McCarthy said on Fox News Sunday.

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McCarthy would not say if language which promised a balanced budget amendment vote but did not make its passage a condition for raising the debt ceiling would be acceptable to the House GOP caucus. He insisted that House Republicans still backed a blanced budget amendment.

“We realize you've got to have cuts today. You've got to have some spending controls, because discretionary spending under this president has gone up 84 percent in the last three years. And we want to make sure that in the future, we're not back here again. So, we'd like to see a balanced budget.”

McCarthy admitted there were different proposals for a balanced budget amendment and suggested House Republicans would be open to a vote on different language than the proposal in Boehner’s debt-limit plan.

“We have a lot of versions out there. I like to see the Democrats stand for any version,” he said.

McCarthy defended House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to try to reach a so-called ‘grand bargain’ with $4 trillion in cuts in talks with President Obama over criticism from the House GOP rank-and-file.

“The speaker tried to layout a framework that stuck to our principles, but would create jobs with new tax reform and would also lower the spending in Washington,” McCarthy said.

When asked if Boehner had been weakened politically by the debt-ceiling debate, McCarthy said “I don’t know.”

“If you look at all the leaders, the president has stood on the sideline and tweeted, Harry Reid hasn't produced the budget in two years, has not produced a debt ceiling, any type of bill, off the floor,” he added.

Earlier Sunday on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said both sides were close to a $3 trillion deficit-reduction package. The package is expected to include spending cuts of about $1 trillion and set up a select bicameral committee to recommend a second deficit-reduction package worth between $1.4 trillion and $1.8 trillion by Thanksgiving.

If Congress fails to approve the committee’s recommendations, cuts to Defense and Medicare would go into effect automatically, giving both parties incentive to reach a later agreement.