Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Sunday that the automatic spending reductions known as the sequester have given his party leverage moving into future budget negotiations.
The government-wide cuts, which took effect in March as a result of the Budget Control Act, trim spending by more than $80 billion during this fiscal year alone. They are scheduled to continue for another nine years with deeper cuts unless Congress and the White House agree to an alternative deficit-reduction plan.
McConnell said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he would not budge on the Budget Control Act's spending caps when lawmakers and the White House resume negotiations over taxes and expenditures.
"The bottom line, when we re-engage early next year, is I don’t want to bust the caps and I don’t want to raise spending, because we are in fact reducing spending, not as much as we need to, but it is a success,” McConnell said, adding that the sequester has lowered government spending "for two years in a row for the first time since right after the Korean War."
The GOP leader also criticized President Obama and congressional Democrats for pushing to raise taxes during previous budget talks. “Every discussion we’ve had about this in the past has had what I would call a ransom attached to it -- a trillion-dollars in new tax revenues," McConnell said. "We don’t have this problem because we tax too little in the country, we have it because we spend too much.”