McConnell: Obama is breaking his word on spending cuts

“We reached an agreement to cut $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years, and we intend to keep our word.”

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On Friday, $85 billion in automatic spending cuts will take effect unless lawmakers agree to an alternative. The cuts were part of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling by reducing $2.1 trillion of spending over 10 years with the Budget Control Act. 

Both McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are expected to introduce alternatives this week — possible later Tuesday. But neither plan is likely to get the 60 votes needed for final passage.

“Should these cuts be implemented in a smarter way? Absolutely,” McConnell said. “But the president and his Cabinet secretaries had a year and a half to think about that. They can’t just show up now at the last minute and expect the American people to bail them out of their own lack of responsibility.”

Democrats have proposed a plan that would reduce the deficit by $110 billion through equal portions of spending cuts and tax revenues by closing corporate tax loopholes, but Republicans have said they are unwilling to accept more tax increases.

The Republican plan would maintain the level of spending reductions but would give Obama more flexibility to minimize the effect on military preparedness and other vital government services, such as air traffic control and airport security screening. 

McConnell said that the sequester was originally Obama’s idea and that he should have proposed an alternative months ago if he didn’t like his own plan.

“We can either secure those reductions more intelligently, or we can do it the president’s way with across-the board cuts,” McConnell said. “But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to.”