McConnell: White House Needs to Be More Serious in Spending Talks

Posted March 6, 2011 at 10:37am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused President Barack Obama on Sunday of not being serious about cutting spending for fiscal 2011.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with people who count at the White House,” including the president and Vice President Joseph Biden, the Kentucky Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “So far I don’t see the level of seriousness that we need.”

The administration is also “in denial” about the state of Social Security, McConnell said. “I was hopeful that we would step up to the plate here and use this divided government opportunity to do something about this problem,” he said. “What I don’t see now is any willingness to do anything that’s difficult.”

“I haven’t given up hope, but I’m not optimistic,” he added.

Obama dispatched Biden to meet on Capitol Hill with Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate on Thursday to try to resolve the dispute over funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year. The meeting ended with a statement from Biden that the conversation would continue.

Sen. John Kerry, who appeared Sunday on “Face the Nation,” said Republicans are the ones who aren’t being serious about spending cuts. He called a House-passed continuing resolution for the remainder of fiscal 2011 an “ideological, extremist, reckless statement” and a “dangerous plan.”

“It’s not a real discussion of America’s needs,” the Massachusetts Democrat said of the measure, which was authored by House Republicans. “We cannot eat America’s seed corn.”

Sen. John McCain called for a balanced budget on ABC’s “This Week” and said getting there will require Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid reform.