McConnell: 'Cutting 2.4% Out of $3.6 Trillion Is Certainly Something We Can Do'

By Susan Jones | March 4, 2013 | 5:48 AM EST

Senate Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

( - Washington has a "spending addiction," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "We are exploding our spending. We've added $6 trillion to the national debt in just four years. We've got to begin to cut spending, and we promised the American people we'd do it a year-and-a-half ago, and we're going to do it."

McConnell said the "modest reduction of 2.4 percent in spending over the next six months is a little more than the average American experienced just two months ago" when the payroll tax holiday expired, resulting in reduced paychecks.

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"By any objective standard, cutting 2.4 percent out of $3.6 trillion is certainly something we can do," McConnell insisted.

"I'm absolutely confident we're going to reduce spending (by) the amount of money that we promised the American people we would in the law the president signed a year-and-a-half ago. We have said we are open to discussing how to reconfigure those spending reductions without raising taxes."

McConnell said he hasn't heard a single Senate Republican say they'd be willing to "raise a dime in taxes" to resolve the sequester impasse.

"The president is free to call whoever he chooses to, he doesn't have to go through the speaker and myself to talk to our members, and I fully expect him to do that. But so far, I haven't heard a single Senate Republican say they're willing to raise one dime in taxes in order to avoid a spending reduction commitment that we made on a bipartisan basis just a year-and-a-half ago."

In an interview taped on Friday with NBC's "Meet the Press," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said several times that President Obama got his $650 billion tax hike on January 1, and now it's time to address spending:

"I'm going to say it one more time," Boehner told NBC's David Gregory: "The president got his tax hikes on January the 1st. The issue here is spending. Spending is out of control. There are smarter ways to cut spending than this silly sequester that the president demanded.

And so we need to address the long-term spending problem. But we can't cut our way to prosperity. We also have to have real economic growth. American families' wages aren't growing, they are being squeezed, and as a result we've got to find a way through our tax code to promote more economic growth in our country.

We can do this by closing loopholes, bringing the rates down for all Americans and making the tax code fair, it will promote more economic growth...There's mountains of evidence that if we bring tax rates down, that we will help spur economic growth in our country."