Mitch McConnell: Senate Republicans have to pick their battles wisely

posted at 1:55 pm on February 9, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell today suggested Democrats’ unwillingness to pass a budget will reflect poorly on them — unless Republicans allow Democrats to draw them into another projected battle to reduce the deficit like the standoff that consumed Congress last summer.

Realistically, McConnell said, the discretionary spending levels that were negotiated during the debt ceiling deal in the Budget Control Act are the lowest Democrats will go.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has argued that the Senate has essentially already passed a budget because it agreed on discretionary spending levels, which is enough to allow the appropriations committee to do its work — but not enough to establish a long-term plan for the fiscal future of the country. In fact, the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in more than 1,000 days, even though The Congressional Budget Act requires it.

Given Republicans’ minority status, though, McConnell said, they won’t be able to squeeze much more out of Reid.

“The discretionary spending levels that were negotiated are the best we’re going to be able to pass,” McConnell. “I think we will  move forward with the limit that was agreed to. Now, I wish it were lower, but I think it’s important to remember we have a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president. And you have a choice between trying to squeeze them down as much as you can or being completely dysfunctional.”

In other words, another battle enables the Democrats to blame Republicans for inaction.

“Our goal is to keep the focus on [the president's] record,” McConnell said. “We’re not going to let them let us be a foil.”

But, on another issue, McConnell said the Senate is ready to fight — and that’s the contraception insurance coverage mandate recently reiterated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

McConnell, who is expected to speak on the subject on the Senate floor soon, echoed Boehner when he said, “This is not just a Catholic issue … This is an issue of religious freedom.”

There are three ways the mandate could be repealed, McConnell said: The president could have an epiphany and realize he went in the wrong direction, he could sign a repeal bill passed by Congress or the U.S. could elect a new president.

No matter what, the Senate will take action on a bill to reverse the mandate — and McConnell expects at least some Democratic support. Because, for all practical purposes, it usually takes at least 60 votes to accomplish anything in the Senate, Republicans will need more than a handful of Democrats, but McConnell said he’s optimistic.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

According to the GOP leadership, they can’t “fight” because, well, battles must be selective (assuming they ever pick a hill upon which to fight, but let’s go with it for argument’s sake.) So their position is to lay back from afar and, um, uh… you know, I don’t have an answer here.

AnonymousDrivel on February 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Perfect.

and so blatantly obvious you’d think it would offend any conservative.

Tim_CA on February 9, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Perfect.

and so blatantly obvious you’d think it would offend any conservative.

Tim_CA on February 9, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Unless maybe the folks that self-identify as “conservative” aren’t quite as anti-progressive as they would want you to believe.

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Mitch McConnell seriously looks like a Turtle…

Critic2029 on February 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Senate Republicans have to pick their battles wisely

…like the battle for the Republican leaders in the Senate!!!

The current Republican leadership is completely gutless and incompetent.

As near as I can tell, McConnell spends all of his time figuring out precisely how he should surrender to the latest Democrat initiative, and what he should say at the press conference when he spins his latest capitulation.

landlines on February 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Isn’t that what Goiter looks like?

slickwillie2001 on February 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Unless maybe the folks that self-identify as “conservative” aren’t quite as anti-progressive as they would want you to believe.

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Using my definition of “conservative” here gryph….but your point is more than valid.

McCain would tell us he’s a conservative.

Tim_CA on February 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [...]

Somebody seriously needs to remind this guy about the ‘L’ word in his title.

ElectricPhase on February 9, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Just like someone reminded us: We need leaders; not managers.

McConnell needs to go. Which of the Senators has the leadership skills to declare this?

davidk on February 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM

If this neutered clown ever picks a battle be sure it is highlighted prominently on the main page.

viking01 on February 9, 2012 at 3:33 PM

PS -

Was McConnell in on the brilliant plan to hand Obama the line item veto???

Seriously, is the Washington Republican establishment infected with Democrat moles, or are they just plain stupid???

landlines on February 9, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Voter stupidity knows no international bounbaries: “In a newly launched Facebook page, Israeli fans of U.S. pop megastar Madonna are pleading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off any such plans to strike Iran until the Queen of Pop’s planned show in Tel Aviv on May 29.” http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/israeli-fans-beg-pm-to-hold-off-iran-attack-over-madonna-show-1.412014

davidk on February 9, 2012 at 3:33 PM

…like the battle for the Republican leaders in the Senate!!!

The current Republican leadership is completely gutless and incompetent.

As near as I can tell, McConnell spends all of his time figuring out precisely how he should surrender to the latest Democrat initiative, and what he should say at the press conference when he spins his latest capitulation.

landlines on February 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

It looks like all the Republican politicians really care about is getting their share of power and money. Instead of using their authority to make life hard on Obama and the Democrats, the Republicans sit back and hope a bad economy and conservative voters will do their job for them. Truly disgusting!

Gladtobehere on February 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

McConnell – Career politician –
Its time to change that paradigm. Its time to “think outside” the Beltway.

FlaMurph on February 9, 2012 at 3:39 PM

gryphon202:

“If a solid majority of Americans self-identify as ‘conservative,’ then a segment of them must be somehow complicit in screwing things up.”

I sure don’t argue with that. There’s “conservative” and then there’s “politically conservative”. Anyone on the Right, however far, invariably moves Statist to some degree or another once in office. Such is the aphrodisiac of professional politician. And what would we expect? Most electees actually go to school to learn how to control and manipulate.

But, yes, pseudo-conservatives under the banner of pragmatic ones remain counterproductive in the long-term. The American frog boils at a slightly lower rate with short-term pragmatism, but boil it will.

AnonymousDrivel on February 9, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Meh, Congress is Dead.

See Also: thread where Obama is Dicktator, thread where budgets are unnecessary.

Since they are useless, they should all just go home.

orbitalair on February 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM

As near as I can tell, McConnell spends all of his time figuring out precisely how he should surrender to the latest Democrat initiative, and what he should say at the press conference when he spins his latest capitulation.

landlines on February 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

It’s like a recurring nightmare.

Like koolaid implied earlier….it takes a serious milquetoast to make Harry Reid look macho.

Tim_CA on February 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM

One look at this guy and I’d vote democrat too.
McConnell is a fool and Harry Reid plays him every time.

lonestar1 on February 9, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I sure don’t argue with that. There’s “conservative” and then there’s “politically conservative”. Anyone on the Right, however far, invariably moves Statist to some degree or another once in office. Such is the aphrodisiac of professional politician. And what would we expect? Most electees actually go to school to learn how to control and manipulate.

But, yes, pseudo-conservatives under the banner of pragmatic ones remain counterproductive in the long-term. The American frog boils at a slightly lower rate with short-term pragmatism, but boil it will.

AnonymousDrivel on February 9, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I’m specifically referring to self-identifying “conservatve” voters, Drivel. It’s an indictment of each and every one of my countrymen (and -women).

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM

McConnell has shown us again that he will tuck his tail between his legs an wait it out. Every battle on constitutional rights is just to big for him to fight. He is another one that will die a thousand times.

savage24 on February 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM

If I lived in Kentucky, I’d be embarrassed by this guy. I sincerely hope they primary him, next time around.

bflat879 on February 9, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Sagacity hasn’t exactly been a trademark of McConnell. His uninspiring leadership,weakness,and naivete during negotiations, paired with his ineffective mustering of public support for good Conservative positions doesn’t provide the GOP with the communication or oratorical skills needed in his position. He should be replaced. He might have good ideas, but he can’t sell them.

K Michael ODonovan on February 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

He should be replaced. He might have good ideas, but he can’t sell them.

K Michael ODonovan on February 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

I have yet to hear any. And I have a good idea that will solve most (if not all) of the problems that ail us: Follow the constitution.

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Sagacity hasn’t exactly been a trademark of McConnell. His uninspiring leadership,weakness,and naivete during negotiations, paired with his ineffective mustering of public support for good Conservative positions doesn’t provide the GOP with the communication or oratorical skills needed in his position. He should be replaced. He might have good ideas, but he can’t sell them.

K Michael ODonovan on February 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

500 bonus points for proper use of the word “sagacity.” LOL

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 4:01 PM

500 bonus points for proper use of the word “sagacity.” LOL

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Still scratchin’ my head…..!? Thought it had something to do with Hillary’s Ta Ta’s…!

Tim_CA on February 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Before the obamacare vote, he reassured everyone they had nothing to worry about, he had it covered.
He sure did.
Dump him and give us the other Kentucky senator.

lonestar1 on February 9, 2012 at 4:07 PM

But, on another issue, McConnell said the Senate is ready to fight — and that’s the contraception insurance coverage mandate

Republicans are Stupid.

See how the game works.

Create a controversy you do not care about but will look bad. Backtrack. (after all this is just a game)
Get all kinds of prizes. (new budget with new fees or taxes)

Like the payroll tax extension paid for by a new tax on anyone buying a house in a down economy.

Like I said.

Republicans are Stupid.

Steveangell on February 9, 2012 at 4:14 PM

I am very ashamed to admit that Mitch McConnell is my senator…very ashamed.

Norky on February 9, 2012 at 4:20 PM

“Our goal is to keep… caving as often as possible while pretending we won the day.”

mankai on February 9, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I do believe that McConnell is right when he says:

another battle enables the Democrats to blame Republicans for inaction.

Obama is looking for the hit and hitting back, cliche, and then the senate shuts down and nothing “gets done.”

But the answer is not doing nothing. If you can’t pass a bill, you can’t waste a whole year: I think the Republican Senate will have to ignore the presidential politics that are going on, and act Extra Senate.

Form a club outside of the Senate Rules, and start being activist. Spend campaign money promoting their principals, not candidates. Spend campaign money advertising against Harry Reid. Act as a unit, elect someone who is not in the senior leadership to be spokesman, I would suggest Senator Brown or Senator Rubio. Both are good at getting on tv and saying nothing is happening. Neither have any power in the REAL senate, because of the restrictive corrupt seniority scheme, that controls everything from staff and office space, to who gets to speak or introduce bills.

Then, put it on tv and show us what you are doing, like that year in high school when the teachers were on strike, and we had to take our finals in June anyway. Show us what you learned today, Senators.

Fleuries on February 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Mitch, on behalf of the people of my home town:

Go.
To.
Hell.

May you be tarred, feathered, and run out o town on a rail you feckless, callow, buffoonish surrender-monkey.

SilverDeth on February 9, 2012 at 4:40 PM

This dude, and those of his ilk, are the epitome of putzdom, and they MUST BE PRIMARIED OUT!

The GOP is truly “infected” with people whom share his mindset, and if we are ever seriously gonna have a chance to fix this Country, not only do the liberal Dems gotta go, but these tools gotta go too!

NOW!!

Ghostflames852 on February 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Under his leadership we have Geitner, Holder, Napolitano, Solis, etc.

marinetbryant on February 9, 2012 at 4:53 PM

The GOP Movement conservatism is truly “infected” with people whom share his mindset, and if we are ever seriously gonna have a chance to fix this Country, not only do the liberal Dems gotta go, but these tools gotta go too!

NOW!!

Ghostflames852 on February 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Got news for ya, pal. It ain’t just the pols. As long as “We the People” enjoy any kind of nominally representative government, we the people share in the blame.

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 4:54 PM

It would be nice if they actually *picked* a battle….and attempted to win it instead of going all “French” and raising the white flag.

ProfShadow on February 9, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Can I paraphrase Mitch McConnell?

“I’m horrible at message. Really bad. I can’t even take the crazy bullshit spending and debt going on and communicate a coherent thought to the general public in a persuasive way. I don’t understand technology, media, English, or math. I just suck, and that’s how I will be until the end of my term.”

beatcanvas on February 9, 2012 at 5:15 PM

McConnell is a useless “leader”…. Dare I say it? Nothing but hot air….. As long as he and Beohner are in there, the GOP will continue to be beaten by the Dems… Majority, or not.

ultracon on February 9, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Realistically, McConnell said, the discretionary spending levels that were negotiated during the debt ceiling deal in the Budget Control Act are the lowest Democrats will go.

Then we are just waiting for the last lender to say no.

chemman on February 9, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Then we are just waiting for the last lender to say no.

chemman on February 9, 2012 at 5:43 PM

They already are. I went to my favorite grocery store deli today and found that the price of a hot beef combination had risen from $4.69 to $6.99, and that cheese buttons went up from 9.99 to 14.99. It’s beginning, and you can bet your sweet ass that if Barack Obama manages to win election SWHTF.

gryphon202 on February 9, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Fight, fight, fight, stand and fight with me,

I surrender!

Repunk wing of the party, leaders: Juan McCain and .itch McConnell!

ConcealedKerry on February 9, 2012 at 6:21 PM

The only thing I’ve found McConnell good for is how quickly I can tell the RNC and Senate fund raisers that I’m done contributing to them as long as Mitch (and buddies) is in charge of the GOP LOSERship.

Perhaps even better is how the poor slub on the other end of the phone knows what I’m talking about and knows it’s time to move on…

drfredc on February 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

PUTZ=Mitch McConnell and all Pubs.

they lie on February 9, 2012 at 6:47 PM

The first wisest battle is to replace you so you can waddle off into retirement.

AH_C on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Comment pages: 1 2