By Alexander Bolton - 08/17/11 07:00 PM EDT
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Wednesday said the best way President Obama can help the economy is to reverse his administration’s policies.
McConnell said he has been meeting with constituents in Kentucky while Obama has toured Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Speaking in Iowa Tuesday, Obama blamed Republicans in Congress for slowing the federal response to the sputtering economy.
“We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game,” Obama said in Peosta, Iowa.
McConnell rejected that assertion, arguing the administration’s overregulation of the private sector and repeated calls for closing corporate tax breaks had created a pall over the economy.
“The first [solution] is that Washington needs to quit doing what it’s been doing under this administration: Quit borrowing. Quit spending. Quit trying to raise taxes. Quit over-regulating. Washington should let the private sector flourish so we have a chance again to have a growing economy,” McConnell said.
McConnell, however, offered a glimpse of possible bipartisan cooperation by suggesting the president and Republicans could come together to pass several trade agreements.
“One very big thing the administration could do in that direction is get those trade agreements up here. They enjoy bipartisan support. They will create jobs in America, for Americans,” McConnell said.
Obama called for passage of those agreements on Tuesday.
“We should pass trade deals that will level the playing field for American companies. And no folks benefit more than rural Americans when it comes to our trade. That’s the reason that our agricultural sector is doing incredibly well, and that has spillover effects, ripple effects throughout the economy here,” Obama said.
“We’ve got folks in America driving Kias and Hyundais. I want to see folks in Korea driving Fords and Chryslers and Chevys,” he added.
Congress is considering trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama that have been held up by the opposition of liberal Democrats and labor unions.