ABC News' Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) reports:
Ahead of his meeting late this afternoon in the Oval Office with President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared again that tax hikes and increased spending are off the negotiating table, as the leaders now sit down to broker a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit before the Obama administration’s August 2 deadline for action.
“I intend to ask the president what he’s prepared to do, outside of raising taxes, about the massive deficits and debt that have accumulated on his watch,” McConnell said on the Senate floor this afternoon, “I will tell him what Republicans are looking for in this debate: to cut spending now, cap runaway spending in the future, save our entitlements from bankruptcy, and to get our economy moving.”
McConnell, who will meet with President Obama at 5 p.m. this evening, says that he will tell Obama that Democratic requests to increase spending and raise taxes are “counterproductive” and “politically impossible.”
“(Democrats') commitment to spending and tax hikes is so deeply-held, it seems, they don’t even recognize the state of our economy or the fact that the tax and spend policies of the past two years have made matters worse, and that they have to change if we’re ever going to get out of the fiscal mess we’re in.”
He says he will ask the president to take both proposals off the table and focus on something that can pass in Congress.
“My message to the President is simple: It’s time for Washington to focus on fixing itself. It’s time Washington take the hit, not the taxpayers.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., met with President Obama one-on-one this morning. On the Senate floor today he said the meeting was “productive.” The two broadly agreed that a deal can be reached if it is balanced and agreed that revenues need to be part of that balanced approached.
“Our republican counterpart will meet with the president this afternoon,” Reid said on the Senate floor, “I hope my Republican colleagues will put the economy ahead of politics. Hope they'll join us to create jobs and set aside their desire to please the tea party and defeat President Obama. This is the way forward.”