Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday, saying he has “lost his mind” by letting political ambitions take precedence over striking a deal over the debt ceiling.
“A lot of the tea party folks are talking about a flat tax rate. Why aren't the Republicans stepping up and saying we need to get rid of all these tax goodies and lower the corporate rate, lower the individual rate, and apply some of the money to the deficit?" McCaskill said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "That’s the thing that could make the deal right now.... I think Mitch McConnell, frankly, has lost his mind.”
McConnell came up with a controversial “back-up” plan that would essentially give President Obama the power to raise the debt ceiling through the end of his first term on his own, provided he notifies Congress of his intentions to do so. This would allow Republicans to say they do not support default while allowing them to foist full ownership of the debt-ceiling increase on Democrats.
“Mitch, honestly, with a straight face, you do a press conference and say, 'Here is a solution to the problem, let’s let the Democrats do it, and we want them to do it three times before the next election, and it will be OK with us if they do it as long as we don't have to touch it.' People aren't ridiculing that?”
This is the time when lawmakers should come together to show the country they are capable of governing, McCaskill said, and not the time for politics. “This is all about trying to take out me and a few others that are in tough states so that Mitch can become majority floor leader," she said. "It's fine he wants to be the majority floor leader. Right now, we have one of the most serious situations our government has confronted in a long, long time. And it's really important that, just for 10 minutes, can we just put all that aside and get this deal done? And then they can move on and play politics for the next six, nine months to their hearts' content.”
But McCaskill acknowledged that some Democrats might be open to the plan if it turns out to be the only way to keep from defaulting. “I think a lot of folks said they are open to the McConnell plan. We are reassured that at least they are thinking about worst-case scenario,” she said. Even so, she said, "if you are in a negotiation and your idea is, let's figure out a way to make them do this all by themselves and make them do it three times before the election, it just is so brazenly political, is what I'm saying.”