By Alexander Bolton - 05/26/10 03:28 PM EDT
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) signaled that Republicans would oppose a new tax relief and unemployment aid package that will come to the floor this week, calling the bill “blatantly reckless.”
The so-called extenders package would extend tax measures such as research and development tax credit as well as unemployment benefits through the end of the year.
“This is fiscal recklessness,” he added.
McConnell said he would support the package only if its costs were fully offset by spending cuts.
The Republican opposition means it will be difficult to pass the measure by Memorial Day, a deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
The Senate cannot take up the proposal until the House approves it, which could happen Wednesday.
Once the nearly $200 billion proposal comes to the Senate, it could take four days to pass if Republicans decide to slow it as much as possible.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the measure would add $134 billion to the federal deficit over ten years.
Reid said Tuesday he would be willing to hold the Senate in session over the holiday weekend to pass a $58.8 billion emergency supplemental and the extenders package, which Democrats say would create jobs.
He repeated his threat on Wednesday.
“We’re not going to leave here,” said Reid, noting Nevada’s high unemployment rate. “We can’t leave here unless we address that issue.”
Reid said he would be able to round up 60 votes to quash a GOP filibuster of the extenders package.
Senate Republicans, however, say Reid does not have enough votes right now.
A senior Democratic aide declined to comment on the likelihood of Congress passing a short-term extension of unemployment insurance and other expiring provisions if the larger package stalls.
Democrats say they will accuse Republicans of blocking unemployment relief in the middle of a recession if they delay the extenders package.
McConnell tried to pre-empt that effort.
“We know they’ll try to blame Republicans for their own inability to come to an agreement if we don’t go along with their effort to add another $130 billion to the deficit by the end of the week,” he said.
“So let’s be perfectly clear: There’s one reason Democrats are having trouble getting an agreement on this bill and one reason only — and that’s because it’s so blatantly reckless,” McConnell added.