AUDIO: McConnell Explains How He’d Force A Shutdown War With Obama

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., smiles as he talks about basketball fans in his home state of Kentucky, and Louisville especially, as college basketball powerhouses and in-state rivals Kentucky and Lou... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., smiles as he talks about basketball fans in his home state of Kentucky, and Louisville especially, as college basketball powerhouses and in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville meet Friday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA playoffs, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. McConnell is flanked at rear by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) MORE LESS
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Updated: 10:25 AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained his plan to use a government shutdown as a bargaining chip against President Barack Obama to a room full of wealthy conservatives two months ago, according to audio obtained by The Nation magazine.

“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. … All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it,” McConnell said at a private summit hosted by the Koch Brothers.

The strategy mirrors what House Republicans did last year: they passed on a “rider” to defund Obamacare in a must-pass spending bill, and it led to the 16-day partial shutdown. But the bill died in the Democratic-led Senate, and Republicans eventually reopened the government and funded Obamacare.

McConnell is suggesting that if Republicans control the Senate, they’ll have a stronger negotiating hand to force Obama to swallow some concessions.

The Kentucky Republican stood by his comments on Wednesday.

“In contrast to Alison Lundergan Grimes’ failure to defend Kentucky coal from the EPA behind closed doors with Obama donors, Senator McConnell fights for Kentucky wherever he goes. Earlier this summer Grimes failed to utter a word of support after promising Kentuckians she would defend Kentucky coal at a Harry Reid fundraiser and lord knows what she said to Tom Steyer and anti-coal billionaires when she attended their conference in Chicago,” said Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for McConnell’s reelection campaign.

This article has been updated to include a comment from the McConnell campaign.

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Notable Replies

  1. “Across the board” not intended to include Military - Industrial contracts.

  2. I can’t believe how much I hate this doddering old fascist and what he represents.

    These soulless proto-humans are making me more cynical and despairing of humanity than any time in history.

  3. How is this different than what they accuse Obama of doing – selectively enforcing laws?

    The United States Congress had directed that certain things be done, and McConnell is saying that the United States Congress will refuse to allow the President to spend money doing these things.

    If McConnell and the GOP really oppose the things they want to defund then they should just change the laws that authorize them.

    If they don’t have the votes to change the laws, then they are simply forcing the President to violate the law.

  4. Well, if the Democrats don’ t show up at the polls, this is what they will get and it’s not like they weren’t told. I am so sick and tired of hearing about GOP waves and how energized and angry at Obama the GOP base is, blah, blah blah. The voters have the ability to shut down the GOTP insanity. If they choose not to do it, they get what they deserve. Unfortunately, so do the rest of us.

  5. Can someone tell me why the campaign of Ms. Grimes isn’t already on the air with an ad highlighting how bad this is for KY? Why isn’t Ms. Grimes going out with ad’s that point out McConnell is already bought and paid for by the Koch Bros.?

    Hit HARD, NOW !

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