By Bob Cusack - 07/06/11 06:52 PM EDT
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Wednesday that the financial state of the U.S. is similar to bankrupt Greece.
Making the case for major spending reductions a day before congressional leaders will meet with President Obama, McConnell said, "We look a lot like Greece already."
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said, "We need a serious discussion and we're not getting it yet."
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) pushed back at Democrats' criticism of the GOP's insistence of no tax increases. He said the party's position is not one of "ideological fervor," but instead an effort to foster more jobs.
Pressed on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) willingness to look at closing tax loopholes, McConnell noted his support for comprehensive tax reform.
In a nuanced break from Cantor, McConnell said any effort to "cherry pick" tax loopholes as part of the debt-ceiling talks would be "pretty challenging."
McConnell stressed that he and other Republican leaders in the Senate want a long-term deal on the debt ceiling. That remark came days after McConnell and his lieutenants signaled they were open to a short-term agreement.
Obama on Tuesday strongly endorsed a long-term deal.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who usually addresses the media before Senate Republican leaders every week when the upper chamber is in session, did not hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon.