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Top Senate Republican says pressure's now on Obama

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Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, said early Wednesday that since President Obama won re-election, it’s now up to him to propose ways to avoid massive tax increases and spending cuts that are due to take effect in early January.

Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who actually saw his Senate troops lose ground to Democrats on Tuesday night, said that because voters backed the GOP in the lower chamber, the House, they were sending a message that they wanted balance.

“The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. McConnell said that while Republicans will work with the president, it’s up to Mr. Obama to propose something that could pass muster in both chambers in heading off next year’s spending cuts and tax increases.

Republicans saw three Senate seats slip from their grasp Tuesday night, while capturing only one Democratic seat. Another two races were too close to call, though Democrats led in both of those.

That marks an embarrassing turnaround for Republicans, who had gone into the election hoping to net as many as a half-dozen seats from Democrats.

Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who ran the GOP’s Senate campaign committee, said the defeats came “from all corners” of the party and said Republicans will have to take time to figure out what went wrong.

“It’s clear that with our losses in the presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party,” he said.

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