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Tuesday
Jul052011

Debt Talks: McConnell Again Invites Obama to Capitol Hill

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday re-invited President Obama to meet on Capitol Hill with Senate Republicans on the debt ceiling talks, still at an impasse, that has caused the Senate to remain in session this week.

“Today I’d like to re-extend the offer,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “I think the best way to solve this impasse is for the President to hear what needs to be done, and how we can do it -- hear what can actually pass here in Congress. He needs to understand the principle at stake here from our point of view.”

Last week the White House turned down a similar offer from McConnell saying it was "not a conversation worth having.”

McConnell on Tuesday said that with just 27 days before the nation defaults on its debts, he hopes the president will agree that it’s a conversation worth having.

“I think we can do it. But I think he needs to understand what the legislative realties are and why,” McConnell said. “Republicans in Congress believe that finding a way to reduce the deficit and put Medicare on more secure footing is a conversation worth having.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opened up his remarks on the floor Tuesday with a new sense of urgency.

“This default crisis is not a new problem. It has loomed for months,” Reid said. “But we no longer have those months -- or even weeks -- to avert this catastrophe. We have days. Yet my Republican colleagues have walked away from the negotiating table when we were nearing a solution and so close to disaster.”

Reid said that Democrats will work on this whether the Republicans “like it or not.”

Moments after Reid filed cloture on a piece of legislation that would express the non-binding “Sense of the Senate,” on taxpayers earning $1 million or more each year and should, as Reid put it on the floor of the Senate, “make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort."

“When Republicans talk about shared sacrifice, they mean the sacrifice should be shared by those who can least afford it. Democrats believe the sacrifice should be shared by the richest 1 percent as well. The others have all sacrificed too much already,” Reid said. “Democrats are willing to compromise. But compromise does not mean allowing our Republican colleagues to put the wants of a few millionaires and billionaires ahead of the needs of this nation and the world.”

Senate Majority Leader Reid last week similarly invited President Obama to meet with Senate Democrats, but so far the White House has not accepted that invitation formally.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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