The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat on Tuesday said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) is standing in the way of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

“His ‘my way or the highway’ approach is what is standing in the way of getting an agreement,” said Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSchumer: NYC should refuse to pay for Trump’s security Reagan's 'voodoo economics' are precisely what America needs When political opportunity knocked, Jason Chaffetz never failed to cash in MORE (D-N.Y.). “The person standing in the way right now is Senator McConnell.”

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Schumer reacted to McConnell's meeting with President Obama on Monday in which McConnell warned he would not accept tax hikes as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, in part because a package that included them would be “politically impossible” in Congress.

“Just yesterday my Republican colleague drew a line in the sand on cutting wasteful spending in the tax code, calling elimination of special interest giveaways 'politically impossible,' ” said Schumer. “Politically impossible, really?”

“You haven't heard such strident language from the other leaders,” continued Schumer. “When he says take everything we want and nothing you want, we will not get an agreement. That is what he is saying.”

Schumer concluded by urging McConnell to abandon his hard-line approach.

“Meet us part of the way here,” said Schumer. “Don't say 'my way or no way.' Because that is too risky.”

Obama and congressional leaders are trying to craft a deal to raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department says the U.S. will be at risk of defaulting on its debts. Obama met with Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio) last week to discuss a debt deal and followed up on Monday by meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) and McConnell.

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Tax increases have emerged as the central obstacle to reaching an agreement. BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE and McConnell insist tax hikes will not be part of any deal, but Democrats want to eliminate some tax provisions for corporations and the very wealthy.

McConnell asked Obama on Monday for proposals to cut the deficit that would not raise taxes, and told the president that Republicans will insist on steep budget cuts, caps on future spending and entitlement reform.

“At some point, the president needs to realize that the reason our debt has skyrocketed 35 percent over the past two years and that our annual deficit is now three times greater than the highest deficit the previous administration ever ran is that spending has spiraled completely out of control,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.  


—Alexander Bolton contributed.