Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday that saving the jobs of police and firefighters was not the role of the federal government.
CNN's Candy Crowley reminded the Kentucky Republican that a recent Gallup/USA Today poll found that 75 percent of Americans supported President Barack Obama's plan to provide additional money for teachers, police and firefighters.
"Republicans helped not break a filibuster, if you will, in a procedural vote," Crowley explained. "You basically got rid of that jobs bill which would have given money to the states, designed to hire or retain fireman, policeman and teachers. When we look at the polling, 75 percent of Americans supported that and yet, the Republicans were against it. So, how do you justify that in your mind?"
"Well, Candy, I'm sure that Americans do," McConnell remarked. "I certainly do approve of firefighters and police. 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're local and state employees."
"The question is whether the federal government can afford to be bailing out states. I think the answer is no."
"The fact is that when you do ask people about this surtax on millionaires, and small businesses as you put it but millionaires in general, people support that, when it comes to not just firemen, policemen and teachers but also the infrastructure bill that's coming up, which you're also opposed to, as I understand it, which would help put people back to work on roads and bridges and rebuilding and that sort of thing," Crowley noted. "It seems to me that politicians are always talking about doing the will of the American people, and that the Republican Party can be seen at least politically as going against that."
"Yeah, these bills are designed on purpose not to pass," McConnell asserted. "I mean, the president is deliberately trying to create an issue here. Look, the American people don't think, I'm sure, that it's a good idea. Four out of five of the so-called millionaires are business owners, over 300,000 small businesses in our country that hire people. I don't think the American people think that raising taxes on business, small business in the middle of this economic situation we find ourselves in is a particularly good idea."
Watch this video from CNN's State of the Union, broadcast Oct. 23, 2011.
(H/T: Talking Points Memo)