Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Magazine's audio, transcript: McConnell disses wage-floor boost, extra help for student debtors, jobless

A recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell, apparently done in secret, has him disparaging minimum-wage increases, extended unemployment benefits and relief for student-loan debtors, according to The Nation, a liberal magazine that published the barely audible recording and a transcript today.

After discussing his recently revealed plan to attach policy riders to funding bills, to force President Obama to veto them and/or negotiate, McConnell said, according to the transcript:
"We’re not going to be debating all these gosh-darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate, is vote on things like raising the minimum wage (inaudible) – cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment – that’s a great message for retirees; uh, the student loan package the other day, that’s just going to make things worse, uh. These people believe in all the wrong things."
McConnell was answering questions after speaking June 15 at a California "donor summit" held by Charles and David Koch, brothers who have been two of the leading financiers of conservative causes and Republican campaigns in recent years.

"The main thrust of McConnell’s remarks to the Koch conference were about his pet issue, campaign finance, which he regards as a matter of free speech," Lauren Windsor reports for The Nation. According to the magazine, he said "the worst day of my political life" was when President George W. Bush signed the McCain-Feingold law, "the bill that banned soft money and unlimited donations to party committees," Windsor writes.

"McConnell promised his party’s rich backers that he stands with them, no matter the cost to Kentuckians and this nation," the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign said in a press release.

The McConnell campaign didn't dispute the transcript, but cast the senator's remarks as no different from his stump speeches and a forthright defense of the coal industry that it said Grimes has been too timid to defend: "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 [sic] knows what she said to Tom Steyer and anti-coal billionaires when she attended their conference in Chicago."

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