Conservative group tags McConnell for rising healthcare costs, debt

Madison Project, a conservative political action committee, plans to launch a billboard campaign in Kentucky hitting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for rising healthcare costs and the debt.

McConnell has staked the Senate GOP message on criticizing President Obama for these problems but the conservative group’s campaign will argue the GOP leader is equally to blame.

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The group has launched three billboard designs that will go up in counties around Kentucky, each asking, “What have Mitch McConnell’s 29 years in Washington gotten you?”

On one version, the answer is “[a] 71-percent increase in your healthcare costs”, on another it is “$57,000 in new debt for every citizen of Kentucky”.

 A third version credits McConnell’s tenure in the Senate with steering “$700 billion of your dollars to bail out Wall Street”.

“McConnell likes to tout his supposed clout and power but after 29 years in Washington, hard-working Americans are left with the same culture of higher taxes, more debt, special interest kickbacks and bailouts,” said the Madison Project’s Drew Ryun, announcing the campaign.

The billboards will go up in Clay, Laurel, Madison, Pulaski and Whitley counties.

The group faults McConnell for negotiating a deal with Democrats in 2011 to raise the nation’s debt limit. It also criticized him for not staunchly supporting Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) effort to oppose any government funding bill that included funds for ObamaCare, which led to a 16-day government shutdown in October.

“The harmful effects of the ‘McConnell debt ceiling plan’ speak louder than his carefully written speeches,” said Ryun. “Worst of all, McConnell has completely sabotaged the only effort to halt ObamaCare funding before the law becomes impossible to repeal.”

Madison Project has endorsed McConnell’s primary opponent, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. It plans to set up five get-out-the-vote field offices across the state.

McConnell voted for the 2011 Budget Control Act, which he helped shape by proposing a mechanism for raising the debt limit. He also voted for the 2008 financial industry bailout, also known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program

McConnell has since lauded the result of the 2011 budget deal, which cut spending by $917 billion and implemented an additional $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts known as sequestration. He notes it lowered government spending for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War.

He said the Wall Street bailout was necessary to keep the nation from plunging into a financial depression.

Allison Moore, McConnell’s campaign spokeswoman, said Madison Project’s attacks could ultimately help Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

“Obviously this group is committed to electing an Obama Democrat in Kentucky and they'll join a long list of national liberal groups who have been wasting their money attacking Mitch McConnell,” Moore said.   

“It is amusing however that they've chosen to masquerade as a conservative organization by endorsing a New England millionaire who decries partisanship, takes taxpayer bailouts, and lies on his resume,” she said of Bevin, McConnell’s opponent, who grew up in New Hampshire.