GOP senator opposes tax hikes to replace spending cuts

Updated: 2013-03-04 10:34


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WASHINGTON - US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday said that he opposed raising taxes to solve US government's spending problem and replace the ongoing government's spending cuts.

"We have a spending addiction in Washington," the top GOP lawmaker said in an interview with CNN.

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed an order to officially start the 85 billion US dollars across-the-board government spending cuts this fiscal year ending on September 30. Obama placed blame squarely on Republicans over the failure to reach a plan to stop the spending cuts from beginning to take effect.

"We now have a 16 trillion US dollars national debt. Our debt is as big as our economy. That alone makes us look a lot like a Western European country," McConnell noted.

The across-the-board automatic government spending cuts, or "sequester" in US government budget language, were included in the August 2011 debt-ceiling package to force lawmakers to come up with a long-term deficit reduction plan. Roughly 85 billion dollars of spending cuts were set to hit various governmental departments this fiscal year, as agreed by Democrats and Republicans in January to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff".

A year and a half later after both parties made the commitment to reduce the government's debt, Obama was trying to "walk away from the commitment we made to the American people," McConnell charged.

Democrats and Republicans have starkly different views on how to replace this fiscal year's sequester. Democrats proposed to replace the sequester with evenly split new revenues and outlays cuts. GOP lawmakers proposed to transfer the authority over how to implement the $85 billion cuts to the White House. Both proposals on Thursday failed to advance in US Senate.