McConnell: GOP not budging on tax rates

Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Trump's nominee for the VA is on the ropes MORE (R-Ky.) has drawn a line in the sand on raising taxes, defying Democratic predictions that GOP leaders will compromise on tax hikes.

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“One issue I’ve never been conflicted about is taxes,” McConnell said in a statement released to Breitbart News. “I wasn’t sent to Washington to raise anybody’s taxes to pay for more wasteful spending, and this election doesn’t change my principles.

“This election was a disappointment, without doubt, but let’s be clear about something: The House is still run by Republicans, and Republicans still maintain a robust minority in the Senate,” he added in the statement, released late Thursday. “I know some people out there think Tuesday’s results mean Republicans in Washington are now going to roll over and agree to Democrat demands that we hike tax rates before the end of the year. I’m here to tell them there is no truth to that notion whatsoever.”

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCan Mueller be more honest than his colleagues? Throwing some cold water on all of the Korean summit optimism House Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds MORE (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist, told reporters Thursday that he thought McConnell and House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWe need more congressional oversight on matters of war A warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker MORE (R-Ohio) would agree to raise taxes as part of a deficit-reduction deal.

“He’s very good at reading the political winds, and I think he will in this case,” Schumer said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

McConnell may have the toughest reelection of any Republican senator facing voters in 2014. Some political analysts think he could get a Tea Party challenge in the GOP primary.

In September, McConnell hired Jesse Benton — who ran Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Overnight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State MORE’s (R-Ky.) 2010 race — to helm his 2014 campaign. Benton has strong relations with conservative activists around the state.