McConnell said that the president and both parties agreed to the sequester, which will now begin next month unless Congress acts to replace the $85 billion in spending cuts slated for this year.

Republicans want to replace the sequester, which heavily affects defense spending, with cuts to entitlement programs, while Democrats want to replace the automatic cuts with new revenue from closing tax loopholes.

McConnell said lawmakers owe it to the millions of unemployed people under the age of 30 to get the job done.

“We owe Americans action, not rhetoric,” McConnell said. “We owe it to the millions of college graduates out of work. We owe it to the strivers who find themselves still living in their parents’ basements. They’re all counting on us to enact real, bipartisan solutions, solutions that can get our economy moving again today and that can ensure greater prosperity tomorrow.”

McConnell suggested that reducing the deficit was the only way to ensure economic prosperity. He said higher interest payments on federal debt could further harm the economy for the current generation already facing hardship.