McConnell calls agreement on 'fiscal cliff' 'imperfect' but necessary

The deal he negotiated with Vice President Biden was imperfect but necessary, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said. 

McConnell (R-Ky.) said the deal, which only saw five GOP defections in the Senate, was a good thing even if it did raise taxes on the wealthy because it prevented tax hikes on a far larger number of people.

“I can speak for my entire conference when I say we don’t think taxes should be going up on anyone,” McConnell said before the vote Tuesday morning. “But we all knew that if we did nothing they would be going up on everyone today. We weren’t going to let that happen.”

McConnell said it shouldn’t have taken the Senate until the absolute last minute to reach an agreement, but that it was necessary to prevent tax hikes for all Americans.

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“It shouldn’t’ have taken us this long to come to an agreement,” McConnell said. “Each of us could have spent the week talking about what a perfect solution looked like, but the end result would have been the largest tax increase in American history.”

McConnell said that under his package 99 percent of Americans would avoid tax increases. The bill would extend the Bush-era tax rates for families making less than $450,000 and delays sequestration for two months. Republicans have argued that raising income taxes on any income bracket would damage the economy and job growth, but agreed in exchange for extending other tax rates.

“It took an imperfect solution to prevent our constituents from a very real financial pain but in my view it was worth the effort.”

McConnell said that the Senate has done something "good for the country" by taking care of the revenue-side of the debate, but that now it was time to debate spending reductions — something he said "Republicans are ready for."