By Alexander Bolton - 07/12/11 02:49 PM EDT
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Tuesday said a comprehensive deficit-reduction deal is not attainable as long as Barack Obama is president.
McConnell declared that deficit-reduction talks have come to an unsolvable deadlock.
McConnell has called for reforms to curb the future growth of Social Security and Medicare since taking over as Republican leader at the end of 2006.
The GOP leader said he had been naïve to think a far-reaching deal possible.
“I truly believed, perhaps naïvely, that this administration would see the necessity of preserving Social Security and Medicare for future generations,” he said. “In the end, it appears that the perceived electoral success of demagoguing a solution proved its undoing.”
Republican senators said Thursday that GOP leaders would know by Monday whether a grand bargain to reduce the $1.6 trillion federal deficit would be possible before the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
Lawmakers are now exploring a “fallback” or “contingency” plan to avert a national default.
Senior GOP Senate aides, however, have declined to provide details about what Plan B might look like.
McConnell said Democrats’ staunch refusal to cut Medicare and insistence on closing tax breaks and raising taxes on the wealthy made a comprehensive deal to cut deficit spending impossible.
He said it’s “no secret that Democrats would rather demagogue any solution Republicans propose in next year’s election than join us in seriously reforming” entitlement programs.
He said Democrats plan instead to use GOP-proposed Medicare reforms as an election issue in 2012.
Citing news reports, McConnell said “senior Democrats have been worried that reforming Medicare now would make it harder for them to campaign against Republicans later.”
McConnell declared shortly before the 2010 midterm election that his top priority was to limit Obama to a single term.