McConnell answers questions about national debt, filibuster and Biden
During a brief interview with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, he talked about not yet visiting with President Joe Biden, the national debt and proposed infrastructure legislation.
Q: Senator McConnell, you and President Biden haven’t met yet. Biden talked a lot about bipartisan agreement in his campaign. Has he asked you to meet or do you think that’s a sign of his priorities now that he’s in office?
McConnell: Yeah it’s been disappointing. In spite of a campaign in which he said he was going to be moderate and wanted to do things on a bipartisan basis. So far, that hasn’t happened. They jammed through a $2 trillion package and a lot of additional debt, ended on a strictly party line vote. So I’ve been disappointed on the lack of bipartisanship, maybe that will change but it hasn’t yet.
Q: And you mentioned debt. What do you think we need to do about our national debt problem?
McConnell: We need to quit running it up. They’re apparently going to recommend yet another massive package, $3 trillion or so. They’re gonna say it’s for infrastructure but much of that will be borrowed money and then they’re planning on having big tax increases on businesses and people, that will slow the economy down as well. So I must admit, I don’t like the direction the new administration is taking and that’s not the way to get bipartisan cooperation.
Q: You mentioned infrastructure. Will the GOP support an infrastructure bill and why or why not?
McConnell: Well we’re not going to support borrowing $3 trillion, adding more debt, and then our children and grandchildren will have to pay off in order to do an infrastructure package it really ought to be paid for. And so we got to say what sort of package can we actually pay for without borrow to finance. And we certainly try to cut taxes, we’re trying to recover economically. The last thing we need is a big tax increase on top of that. So I just don’t like the directions they’re headed, it’s not one that’s designed to get bipartisan support.
Q: Moving on to news that just broke this morning, Kentucky lawmakers overrode Governor’s Beshear’s veto of the Senate vacancy bill. Why is this important, and are you expecting to fulfill your full term?
McConnell: Oh yeah, I’m not going anywhere. But I’ve watched over the years various states fill vacancies when there’s a Senate vacancy and I never liked the fact that the governor could pick somebody without any election to serve for a lengthy period of time. So what this bill does is make sure the governor on an interim basis appoints someone of the same party who the Senator was that’s vacated. And then have a very quick election so the people of Kentucky can pick who the Senator is.
Q: So that’s important to you, correct?
McConnell: Well I think it’s important for the state. I would be for it if there would be a Republican governor. We don’t have a vacancy so it’s a good idea to deal with it in advance.
Q: And my last question, what are your thoughts on the filibuster?
McConnell: I think the filibuster is the essence of the Senate. The fact that it takes more than a simple majority to pass most legislation, every majority is frustrated by that, this particular majority wants to break it up, wants to change the rules in order to get what they want tomorrow rather than wait time or engage in bipartisan agreement. They want to break the rules in order to achieve what they wanna achieve. The American people didn’t give them the mandate. We have a 50-50 Senate, a narrow majority in the House. They (Democrats) don’t have a mandate to completely change this country without consultation with us and that’s at the essence of the filibuster debate.