McConnell: Not My Job To Prevent Firefighter, Police Layoffs

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Speaking with Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) defended his opposition to President Obama’s now dead jobs bill, saying that the federal government should instead focus on decreasing regulations.

Senate Republicans, joined by three conservative members of the Democratic caucus, defeated that $35 billion package last week, which aimed to hire or retain teachers and emergency responders. And Democrats will surely trumpet their recalcitrance as we head into 2012.

Yet McConnell spun the issue in a different light, telling Crowley that saving emergency responders from unemployment shouldn’t be a federal responsibility because we can’t afford “to be bailing out states.”

“I certainly do approve of firefighters and police,” said McConnell. “The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They are local and state employees.”

But, as Crowley pointed out (and as did Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate last week) polls show that 75 percent of the public supports raising some form of tax on millionaires to pay for aid to teachers, police, and firefighters.

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Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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