In his first speech since Republicans lost Senate seats and the presidential race last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Republicans are open to new tax revenue in a fiscal deal in exchange for entitlement reforms.
“Republicans like me have said for more than a year now that we’re open to new revenue in exchange for meaningful reforms to the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt, so that we can reduce the deficit, protect these programs for today’s seniors, and strengthen them for future generations,” McConnell said in prepared remarks for a floor speech Tuesday.
“This is the basic outline of a plan, and it reflects our seriousness as a party,” McConnell said. He argued the government does not need more tax revenue, but said Republicans will accept it “because Democrats from the President on down have said they’re willing to punish everyone if they don’t get it.”
Rhetorically McConnell’s speech contrasts with an interview his remarks to The Wall Street Journal editorial board published this weekend. “Let me put it very clearly," McConnell said in that interview. "I am not willing to raise taxes to turn off the sequester. Period."
As in past remarks, McConnell said Tuesday that President Obama is responsible for finding a compromise with Republicans, and must offer a detailed proposal.
“Make no mistake: Republicans are offering bipartisan solutions. Now it’s the President turn.” McConnell said. “It’s his turn to demonstrate similar seriousness, bring his party to the table, and take the lead.
McConnell also warned Democrats against interpreting a narrow election victory as a mandate.
“Most people may focus on the White House, but the fact is, the government is organized no differently today than it was after the Republican wave of 2010,” the GOP Leader said. “Look out across the heartland, and you’ll see vast regions of the country wary of the President’s vision for the future. The country is sharply divided about the right path forward. If the President wants to unite America, as he has always claimed to, if he truly realizes that he was elected to represent all of its citizens, not just the ones who voted to give him a second term last Tuesday, then he’ll seek the common ground he avoided so strenuously in his first term.”