By the end of the debate on the continuing resolution there were disgruntled congressmen and senators on both sides of the aisle. But that is the nature of legislation. A “majority” does not mean “unanimity.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate minority leader, is as much responsible as anyone for any cuts achieved in the 2011 budget. He held the line and rounded up the votes to block the omnibus spending bill last December. I asked his office a few questions and received his reactions via e-mail.
Is the CR a step in the right direction?
“Two years ago, President Obama and his allies in Congress were busy trying to convince people that borrowing a trillion dollars and blowing it on turtle tunnels and sidewalks to nowhere would keep unemployment from rising above eight percent. One year ago, the President signed into law the most expensive government program in history. Yet this week, we’ve seen the same President step up to a microphone and try to convince people that he holds the key to solving the jobs crisis that’s accompanied policies he presided over, and that after spending two years running up our deficits and our debt to historic heights, he’s the one with the plan to lower them.”
Unlike the glass-half-empty crowd (more precisely, the throw-the-glass and-stomp-on-it crowd), McConnell sees things headed in the right direction: “We’ve had a sea change here in Washington. Now, everyone claims to see the crises we face — even those who’ve done so much to create them, and who’ve tried for too long to ignore them.”
But the continuing resolution is not the main event. Back in December McConnell told Right Turn that he wanted to make real progress on entitlement reform and thought it could be done. Four months later he says, “That’s why this debate will soon move from a debate about billions in savings to a discussion about how we save trillions — because the ground has shifted in the direction Americans want.” Unfortunately, President Obama has shifted not at all. Only under duress and after exhausting all other options does he consent to the right-center majority in Congress. McConnell is just the fellow to keep up that level of duress.