Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that President Obama should spend less time trying to convince Americans of his tax-increase plans and more time meeting with Congress to try to work out an actual agreement.
With the “fiscal cliff” looming, the White House said Mr. Obama will do campaign-style events to try to drum up public support for his position that taxes must go up. But Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the president should be using his persuasive skills to try to strike a deal in Washington, not sow partisanship outside of it.
“We already know the president’s a very good campaigner. We congratulate him on his re-election. What we don’t know is if he has the leadership qualities to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on big issues,” Mr. McConnell said. “The people he needs to be talking to are members of his own party so he can convince them of the need to act.”
Mr. McConnell repeatedly has said the key to a final deal will be for Mr. Obama to put a plan out there and have it negotiated.
The White House and congressional Democrats, though, argue that the key is for Republicans to put substantial tax revenue increases on the table.
Already, some have said they would be willing to do that — even saying they would buck the influential no-new-taxes pledge administered by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform organization.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, praised those Republicans on the Senate floor Tuesday, saying they are listening to the will of voters in this month’s elections.
“Americans when they voted raised their voices in support of our pledge. Congress must act in accordance with the will of the American people,” Mr. Reid said.