McConnell: ‘No question as to where the priority should be’

‘$100 million in savings is good, but it only amounts to about 33 cents in savings for every single American’

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the President’s announcement on cutting government waste:

“I’d like to say another word about the President’s welcome gesture yesterday on wasteful spending. The Cabinet has been asked to find $100 million in savings over the next few months, and this is clearly a step in the right direction. But it’s just a step. Current levels of government spending and debt are completely out of control, and the threat of a fiscal catastrophe is real.

“The only way to really address these out-of-control spending and debt levels is to get at the heart of the problem, which is entitlement spending. A lot of people don’t realize that nearly 70 percent of the money the federal government spends every year is mandatory spending on programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and on the interest we have to pay on the national debt.

“Entitlements are the heart of the problem — as Willie Sutton put it, that’s where the money is — and if we don’t find a way to address this spending then we’ll be in very serious trouble as a nation.

“Fortunately, Senators Gregg and Conrad have a proposal on the table that addresses entitlement spending head-on by forcing Democrats and Republicans to come together and make the kind of tough choices necessary to steer the country out of an otherwise inevitable financial shipwreck.

“It deserves much more attention than it’s received. And it deserves a vote in the Senate.

“Cutting $100 million in waste is good. But let’s put it in context. We’ll spend about that much every single day just on the interest payments for the Stimulus bill that Congress passed earlier this year. $100 million in savings is good, but it only amounts to about 33 cents in savings for every single American. Compare that to entitlement spending, where, in order to meet all of our current and future entitlement promises, we would have to extract $495,000 from every American household. The way I see it, there’s simply no question as to where the priority should be.”