Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., assailed President Barack Obama's attempt to forge a grand debt deal as smoke and mirrors, a sign of intensifying rhetoric innside the beltway, as the deadline to strike a compromise draws closer.
In recent days Obama has cast himself as a reasonable negotiator in a sea of acrimony, willing to give concessions in pursuit of a bargain would expand the deficit reduction package to some $4 trillion. His proposal would include Democratic priorities like new revenue as well as Republican goals like cuts to Medicare and Social Security, but McConnell slammed the move as an attempt by Obama to craftily expand government.
As long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable, McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Obama has also ramped up the rhetoric in recent days, warning on Monday night that failure to reach a deal could endanger the government's ability to send out Social Security checks.
I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3 if we haven't resolved this issue, Obama said on The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.
Obama originally crafted the grand bargain proposal after closed-door talks in which Republican leadership signaled some willingness to budge on their opposition to new revenues, but bipartisan support for the deal has since disintegrated.