McConnell: 'Nobody's Going To Put A Gun To Anybody's Head' Over Raising Debt Ceiling

Stay classy there Mitch. Looks like Republicans are still going to play a dangerous game of chicken over raising the debt ceiling and even their leadership can't stop themselves from invoking gun metaphors. WALLACE: Republicans talk about -- and
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Stay classy there Mitch. Looks like Republicans are still going to play a dangerous game of chicken over raising the debt ceiling and even their leadership can't stop themselves from invoking gun metaphors.

WALLACE: Republicans talk about -- and I think this is all going to come to a head when the continuing resolution runs out on March 4, the government runs out of money and the question is where do you go from there? Do you -- would you accept a continuing resolution at that point, at current 2010 levels? Or are you going to say, right then, we need to see some significant spending cuts when the government runs out of money in early March?

MCCONNELL: Yes. I think there are two opportunities that we ought to take advantage of. One is the continuing resolution, and the other is the president, as you know, has asked us to raise the debt ceiling. Both of those opportunities, I think, should be taken advantage of, on a bipartisan basis, to do something significant about spending and about debt.

I don't think either one of them should just be passed, as we say in - - in Congress clean -- cleanly. They need to -- to carry along with them something really significant on spending and debt. That's what the American people are expecting. I think it's the right thing to do for the country.

WALLACE: I mean, implied in that is an "or else."

MCCONNELL: No. No, we're not -- you know, I think we ought to view this as an opportunity. Nobody's going to put a gun to anybody's head here. Let's take advantage of these two sort of seminal moments to do something really important about the biggest problem other than joblessness, and I think it's all related in that spending and debt.

WALLACE: But -- but the fact of the matter is you're going to have a view and it clearly is going to be more than the Democrats want. Are you willing to shut down the government over this? Are you willing not to -- to raise the debt limit?

MCCONNELL: Well, the only one talking about shutting down the government is in your question. I mean, what we're talking about here is trying to get some results. The American people would like for us to get some results on spending and debt, and both of these actually provide a good opportunity, Chris, because it kind of focuses your mind on -- on the biggest problem other than unemployment that we have in the country.

WALLACE: Would you agree that failing to raise the debt limit would be an economic disaster for this country?

MCCONNELL: Nobody is talking about that at this point.

WALLACE: Plenty of people are talking about that.

MCCONNELL: What we're talking about here is using that as an opportunity to do something significant about the issue raised by the president's request to raise the debt ceiling, which is we're spending too much.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCONNELL: So why not use that as an opportunity to carry along with it some significant spending reduction.

WALLACE: I'm going to ask you one more time. Not saying that you're threatening in any way not to raise the debt limit, but would you agree with Timothy Geithner that failing to raise the debt limit would be a disaster?

MCCONNELL: What I'm going to say one more time is we're going to use it as an opportunity to do something significant about spending and debt.

Transcript via Lexis Nexis.

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