Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dug in this morning by not backing off earlier statements that the GOP would use the United States debt limit as a bargaining chip to get the president and his party to agree to more spending cuts.
Placing the blame squarely on President Obama’s shoulders, McConnell called it a "shame" that Republicans "have to use whatever leverage we have in Congress" to get the president at the negotiating table. He also declared the prospect of raising taxes, "over" and added that any new tax reform would have to be "revenue neutral."
On the roundtable, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich chided his Republican colleagues for using the debt ceiling as a political leverage, saying that two other issues, the pending sequestration cuts and the continuing resolution to fund the government, were "much better fights than the debt ceiling."
Gingrich continued, "The debt ceiling guarantees a crisis. It guarantees that the markets will cave in on the Republicans. And the Republicans in the end will give up."
There was also reports this morning that President Obama intends to nominate former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to become Secretary of Defense this week. Constitutionally, the president’s cabinet picks must be confirmed by the Senate and the two Senators on Meet the Press this morning, Mitch McConnell and Angus King (I-ME) said they will wait until Hagel's confirmation hearings before deciding how to vote.
McConnell added that Hagel will "be treated fairly" by the GOP but raised the prospect of pressing the former senator on his stance toward Israel.
You can watch the entire program on our website including an interview with Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who headed the president's fiscal commission, on why they think leaders in Washington missed a "magic moment" with the fiscal cliff deal.
Be sure to check out David’s breakdown of what federal finances would look like if they were brought down to family size.
We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.