From NBC's Ken Strickland and Mark Murray
In his closing arguments urging his colleagues to vote against the Senate stimulus bill, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Democratic leaders -- not President Obama -- for crafting a bill he believes is both wasteful and non-stimulative. "The president was right to call for a stimulus, but this bill misses the mark," McConnell said on the Senate floor this morning.
"To his credit, our new president has committed himself to working with Congress to fix the economy, a top priority for both parties," McConnell said. "What many of us did not expect, however, was that President Obama wouldn't be the author of that plan ... the bold economic plan that President Obama called for ended up being written by some of the longest-serving Democrats in the House of Representatives -- and it showed." He added that Senate Democrats didn't do any better.
(But as we pointed out earlier this morning, how many Americans will believe that the legislation is Pelosi's and Reid's, after Obama has forcefully advocated for it over the past 24 hours?)
McConnell repeated Republican's core objections: wasteful spending, permanent government expansion, minimal job creation, and a staggering price tag. "We have no assurance it will create jobs or revive the economy," he said. "The only thing we know for sure is that it increases our debt and locks in bigger and bigger interest payments every year. In short, we're taking an enormous risk with other people's money."
The GOP leader said his members believe the best way to fix the economy is to address the housing crisis and reduce personal taxes. "Throughout this process, Republicans have been guided by the belief that the desire to 'just do something' shouldn't be an excuse to waste tax dollars."