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McConnell: Only thing left on the negotiating table ‘is the varnish’

McConnell said Obama campaigned on a “balance approach” to dealing with the deficit, one that included both spending cuts and revenue, but now that the campaign is over, Obama is only talking about taxes.

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“Any deficit-reduction deal has to include cuts,” McConnell said. “The reason I shouldn’t have to repeat this is because the president himself has been running around the country for two years saying any agreement has to be balanced, meaning revenue and cuts. ... Yet now, with the election behind him, President Obama is suddenly silent on the need for spending cuts. He keeps talking about balance. That polls well. But when it comes to specific cuts, he’s silent. 

"All of a sudden it’s all tax hikes all the time. Forget balance, let’s just raise taxes and spend even more."

Obama released a proposal last week that would raise $1.6 trillion with higher taxes, find $400 billion in savings from entitlements and spend $50 billion on measures to stimulate the economy.

Republicans have said it is a one-sided offer that shows the White House isn’t serious about the talks. House Republicans made a counter offer that includes $800 billion in new tax revenues, but the White House rejected it, demanding higher tax rates on the wealthy. 

Democrats want to extend the Bush-era tax rate for those making less than $250,000 a year, raising tax rates on the 2 percent of taxpayers making more than that, but Republicans have said raising tax rates on any income bracket would harm the economy.