McConnell comes out against federal budget deal

syoungman@herald-leader.comDecember 17, 2013 

Senate McConnell

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is Senate minority leader.

MANUEL BALCE CENETA — AP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday his opposition to the two-year budget compromise that was passed by the House last week and neared final passage in the Senate.

McConnell sees the compromise, negotiated by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as forfeiting his one win from an October compromise he helped negotiate that ended a shutdown of the federal government.

Republicans were forced to concede on almost every point in the shutdown negotiations, but McConnell boasted that he was able to protect across-the-board budget cuts agreed to in 2011 and commonly known as sequestration.

In November, McConnell visited the House Republican caucus and urged its members to protect the sequestration cuts, which were included in the Budget Control Act of 2011 after a battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling.

"The Budget Control Act was designed to cut spending in the short and long term, and I remain convinced that Congress should continue to adhere to the fiscal restraints it set," McConnell said in a statement. "For the first time since the Korean War, government spending has declined for two years in a row as a result of the BCA. This was hard-won progress on the road to getting our nation's fiscal house in order. We should not go back on that commitment."

In the days since the compromise was announced, McConnell has been under fire from conservative fundraising groups and Republican primary challenger Matt Bevin opposing the deal.

Bevin has been particularly aggressive in hitting McConnell for remaining mum, accusing the senator of waiting to see which way the political winds were blowing.

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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