Senate Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell made clear Sunday that he would oppose any effort by the Obama administration to raise more tax revenue beyond the higher rates for the wealthy in the recent fiscal deal, saying that he remained focused on finding ways to cut spending as the government grapples with debilitating debt.
"The tax issue is finished. Over. Completed. That's behind us," Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, said on the ABC program "This Week."
Mr. McConnell's appearance on three Sunday morning news programs came just days after he, along with Vice President Joe Biden, helped broker a resolution to the latest fiscal crisis, and as Washington was already bracing for a series of further confrontations over debt and spending.
Mr. McConnell's stance on taxes countered calls from Democrats, and even some House Republicans, to revamp the tax code to close some provisions and raise new revenue. But Mr. McConnell did say he would favor changes if they were "revenue neutral," meaning that lower rates would be paid for by limiting deductions and closing loopholes.
Mr. McConnell's focus on the need for serious spending cuts was relentless in his appearances on ABC, NBC and CBS. He was equally insistent that President Barack Obama must lead on the matter.
Mr. McConnell's remarks stood in contrast to comments from the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, who said on the CNN program "State of the Union" that there was still plenty of room to increase revenue by closely examining "deductions, credits, special treatments under the tax code."
Mr. Obama, who was speaking from Hawaii before returning to Washington, emphasized his own line in the sand. Now that the government has reached its statutory borrowing limit, Mr. Obama said that Congress had no choice but to raise the limit before late next month to avoid a damaging default. He said the matter was not up for negotiation.
Mr. McConnell, asked whether he supported those Republican senators who have suggested that a default, and even a brief government shutdown, might be necessary to secure deep spending cuts, repeatedly sidestepped the question.