Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said Democrats’ push for tax hikes and defense cuts would play “Russian roulette with our economy.”
President Obama and many Capitol Hill Democrats want tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush to expire for households making more than $250,000 a year. But Mr. McConnell said said such move would pose a tax on 53 percent of small-business income and 25 percent of the workforce.
The Kentucky Republican also accused Democrats of refusing to negotiate in good faith a path to avoid $500 billion in so-called “sequester” cuts to the Pentagon scheduled to begin in January.
“Playing games with the economy, it’s the single worst thing we can do for the American people,” Mr. McConnell told reporters. “We ought to quit it and sit down and try to work these differences out now.”
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, took the gun metaphor a step further, saying that the Democrats’ strategy is worse than Mr. McConnell’s example because “Russian roulette implies that you’ve got five chances out of six that you won’t kill yourself.”
Invoking an adage from former Sen. Phil Gramm, Mr. Cornyn said one should “never take a hostage you’re not willing to shoot.”
Democrats, Mr. Cornyn said, “are willing to take hostage the American economy, our defense preparedness and, literally, the lives of families and businesses in this country just in order to raise taxes on 940,000 businesses in this country,” adding, “They are apparently ready to shoot the hostage.”