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McConnell Blasts Deficit Spending, Urges Extension of Tax Cuts

Updated: July 18, 11:12 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued Sunday for extending Bush administration tax cuts while opposing an extension of unemployment benefits without offsets.

The Kentucky Republican, in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” made his case against further deficit spending. The Obama administration has been on a “gargantuan spending spree,” increasing the deficit from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product under the Bush administration to almost 10 percent in a year and a half, he said.

“At what point do we pivot and start being concerned about our children and grandchildren?” he asked. “There’s no way in the world that in a trillion-dollar budget this year we can’t find the money to pay for an extension of unemployment insurance, something we’re in favor of.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, in a separate appearance on “State of the Union,” addressed the spending issue.

“Obviously, we had to, in the short term, invest to get the economy moving,” the Maryland Democrat said. “In the long term, we obviously have to look at the debt. Americans are concerned about both growing the economy and making sure the debt does not put our country at risk.”

McConnell also advocated an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. “I can say categorically that I don’t think it’s a good idea to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, and that is exactly what will happen if they let the Bush tax rates expire at the end of this year,” he said.

“We believe the problem is not that we tax too little, but that we spend too much,” he added.

With the swearing-in of Democrat Carte Goodwin to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday, the $34 billion unemployment benefits extension is expected to pass.

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