McConnell sets stage for extenders battle

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Wednesday that Republicans are prepared to fight a tax extenders package set to hit the Senate floor this week if senators do not pay for it.

Democrats want the $200 billion measure to pass this week, but McConnell said Republicans want the measure fully funded, echoing the GOP's arguments against several short-term unemployment benefit extensions it successfully stalled this year.

“I’d like to just say a word this morning about the still-unfinished extenders package that’s about to come over from the House," McConnell said during opening remarks on the Senate floor. "The first thing to say is that Republicans are ready and willing right now to extend necessary benefits and to pay for them. We could get this done in no time. So any delay in passing this bill is coming from the other side of the aisle. And I say this not to point fingers, but because we’ve seen the Democrat Playbook."

Senate Democrats have pushed for quick passage of the measure, which renews several tax credits and spending measures, saying that they could create new jobs.

Following the passage of sweeping healthcare and financial regulatory reform bills, Democrats have pivoted to smaller pieces of legislation that are designed to stimulate job growth as the midterm elections approach and the unemployment rate remains high.

But McConnell accused Democrats of being "reckless" by failing to pay for the measure, and gave a rebuttal of Democratic attacks of Republicans on the matter. 

"We know they’ll try to blame Republicans for their own inability to come to an agreement if we don’t go along with their effort to add another $130 billion to the deficit by the end of the week," he said.