Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a stinging criticism of President Obama’s post-election approach to the national deficit, saying the president has adopted an “adversarial tone” and “far-left agenda” and instead should try to help Democrats recognize they are living in a “fantasy world” when it comes to the nation’s fiscal challenges.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Mr. Obama must realize that Congress has to adopt cost-saving reforms to the nation’s entitlement programs and cut spending in order to deal with the nation’s deficits and soaring national debt.
“The president’s vision of an all-powerful government that rights every wrong, that deals with every wound, may warm the liberal heart, but it is completely divorced from experience and reality,” Mr. McConnell said. “I know it must be hard for them to accept, but the reality is this: We have a spending problem, not a taxing problem.”
The comments came as the GOP-controlled House took up a bill on the other side of the Capitol to extend the nation’s borrowing ability for three months — a plan aimed at pressing Senate Democrats to pass a federal budget for the first time in four years. The proposal also included a controversial provision to withhold members’ pay if their chamber fails to produce a spending proposal.
Throughout his nearly 20-minute speech Wednesday, Mr. McConnell referred to a chart behind him that showed how the nation’s revenues will fall far short of covering the cost of future spending — even if Mr. Obama got all the tax increases he wanted.
Mr. McConnell said that after the vote this month that allowed taxes to go up on individuals making more than $400,000 a year and households making $450,000, he would be surprised if Mr. Obama could win a single Republican vote in either chamber for additional tax increases.
“The reality the president needs to face, and quickly, is that there is no realistic way to raise taxes high enough to even begin to address this problem,” he said, before calling on the president to put aside his “liberal wish” and “character attacks” and join Republicans.
“The president has a choice: paint himself as a warrior of the left, charge into battle with failed ideas we have already tried before,” Mr. McConnell said. “He can demean and blame the opposition for his failure to lead. He can indulge his supporters in a bitter, never-ending campaign that will only divide our country further, or he can take the responsible road. He can help his own base come to terms with the mathematical reality. Some people over there are living in a fantasy world — a world that doesn’t exist.”