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article imageMcConnell wants balanced budget amendment with debt ceiling talks

By Michael Krebs     Jul 16, 2011 in Politics
As President Obama hosted another debt ceiling press conference on Friday and outlined his opposition to a balanced budget amendment, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a case for why the amendment is needed.
The American political establishment took their competing positions on the federal debt ceiling to the public on Friday, with President Obama hosting another press conference on the matter and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explaining his stance in a USA Today opinion piece.
The president and his Republican counterparts remained in opposition on how to best move forward on the national debt. President Obama is seeking tax increases of more than $1 trillion to help contribute to what he sees as a "balanced" solution to the debt, claiming that 80 percent of Americans are behind his approach.
However, Senator McConnell does not share the president's perspective on tax hikes.
"With the government expected to spend $1.4 trillion more than it takes in this year alone, the White House presented us with two bad options: a so-called 'big deal' that, even if you accept its numbers, would have only lowered our debt from $26 trillion to about $22 trillion over the next 10 years; and a smaller deal that would cut $2 billion next year out of a $3.7 trillion budget," McConnell wrote. "Another catch: Both offers came with massive tax hikes — which we know, and the president has acknowledged, will hurt job growth."
President Obama has maintained that he only intends to tax "the rich."
"When Republicans refused both proposals, the president responded that he only wants to tax 'the rich,' but, again, the facts are clear," McConnell wrote. "Raising taxes on the 'top 2%' would not only create yet another roadblock for small businesses to create jobs, it would come up about $10 trillion short on our bills."
Out of this ongoing disagreement between the White House and the Republican leadership has come another call for a balanced budget amendment, a move President Obama opposes.
"We don't need a Constitutional amendment to do our jobs," Obama said at the Friday press conference. "The Constitution already tells us to do our jobs."
This coming week Congress will vote on a balanced budget amendment under the shadow of the debt ceiling debate.
"There is some dispute about what will happen if we fail to raise the debt limit on August 2," McConnell wrote. "One thing that is not in dispute, however, is that on that date the president would suddenly be in the position of picking and choosing who gets the more than 80 million checks Washington issues every month. This is a power that no president should have."
McConnell believes a balanced budget amendment would alleviate this concern.
"That's why I have proposed a last-resort plan that would take default off the table as Republicans continue to press the White House for meaningful cuts and reforms," he wrote. "And this week, Congress will vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and the 'Cut, Cap and Balance' bill. The goal is a balanced budget amendment that would not rely on persuasion in getting the president to rein in a government he has done so much to expand — it would require it."
More about Mcconnell, Debt ceiling, National debt, Obama, Congress
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