President Obama is still trying to hash out a deficit reduction deal as part of a Congressional vote to raise the debt ceiling, but Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested today that the president ultimately won't get any Republicans to work with him.
"I bet there won't be a single Republican vote to raise the debt ceiling at the end of the day," McConnell said in an interview with conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham. The remark was in response to Ingraham's reference to a new Gallup poll showing that the plurality of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling.
Mr. Obama and his economic team have warned of "economic catastrophe" should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2. Republicans, calling it irresponsible to raise the debt limit without fiscal reform, have insisted on massive spending cuts in exchange for their votes.
McConnell told Ingraham that there's no question the debt ceiling will be raised somehow. "If anybody seriously doubts that the U.S. is going to renig on its credit for the first time in history -- that's just not going to happen," he said.
Furthermore, the Senate leader said he's still interested in reaching a deal with the president "that cuts spending and makes a difference for the country."
However, McConnell said, Mr. Obama's interest in including revenue increases in the deal has left Republicans with two bad choices: "either sign onto a bad deal that raises taxes or go into default and allow us to have co-ownership of a bad economy."
McConnell acknowledged that thehe unveiled yesterday comes down largely to a . The plan would allow Mr. Obama to raise the debt limit without any Republican support.
"I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy," he said.
McConnell said Democrats could sign onto his plan even though it would leave them responsible because "They want to raise the debt ceiling."
"We know that's going to happen," he added.
On the Senate floor today, McConnell said that "Republicans will spend the next two weeks fighting for" significant cuts and spending reforms by voting on a balanced budget amendment.
"If these debt negotiations have convinced us of anything, it's that we can't leave it to politicians in Washington to make the difficult decisions they need to get our fiscal house in order," he said. "The balanced budget amendment will do that for them."