McConnell: The White House Is Pulling for a Super Committee Failure

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., today suggested that the White House is pulling for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the so-called Super Committee,  to fail because success would step on their storyline of Republican obstructionism.

After leaving the Republicans’ weekly policy luncheon, McConnell was asked about Senator Charles Schumer’s prediction yesterday that the Super Committee would likely fail to strike an agreement on a plan to cut $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years “because our Republican colleagues have said no net revenues.”

Responding today, McConnell said Schumer (D-NY), the Democrats’ primary messenger, is indicative of how Democrats and the White House want this committee to fail.

“It’s pretty clear when Chuck Schumer speaks, he’s speaking from the most partisan Democratic position,” McConnell said today. “And it does raise your suspicion that the folks down at the White House are pulling for failure. Because you see, if the Joint Committee succeeds, it steps on the story line that they’ve been peddling, which is that you can’t do anything with the Republicans in Congress.”

McConnell said the six Republicans on the 12-member committee from the House and Senate want an outcome and “do not believe failure is an option.”

The Super Committee is now just 15 days away from its deadline to reach an agreement on a proposal to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next decade.

While normally he stays away from commenting on the work of the Super Committee, today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., blasted Republicans for adhering to anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist too much.

“The difficulties we find is that in every one of these discussions, Grover Norquist seems to be in the room,” Reid said. “That’s Grover Norquist who seems to be elbowing his way into all these rooms where we’re having these meetings. It’s a shame that Grover Norquist is present in all these meetings we have….  I’m hopeful that the Republicans on the Super Committee will break away from this.”

The sticking point in the Super Committee is the partisan divide on taxes. Republicans are staunchly opposed to new tax revenues and rejected the Democratic plan recommending a $1.3 trillion increase in tax revenues as part of a $3 trillion plan that included an overhaul of the tax code.

The committee has until Thanksgiving to come to an agreement on a plan to achieve a $1.5 trillion cut to the deficit over the next decade. If they do not, the trigger options — $ 1.2 trillion in deficit savings split between Medicare and defense spending, as negotiated during the debt ceiling deal — would be enacted through a sequestration mechanism.