Mitch McConnell tells donors: No more shutdowns
The attendee said McConnell 'said everything that needed to be said.'
By ANNA PALMER | 10/28/13 1:34 PM EDT
Mitch McConnell isn’t going to have another government shutdown on his watch.
The Kentucky Republican stood up over the weekend and said he wanted to address the “elephant in the room” at a fundraising retreat in Sea Island, Ga. Speaking before roughly 300 K Streeters and big donors,
McConnell said Republicans will not come close to defaulting on the nation’s debts or shutting down the government early next year when stop-gap government funding and the debt ceiling are slated to be voted on again.
His remarks echoed similar comments he made following the shutdown that it was “not conservative policy” and that he always believed “this strategy could not and would not work.”
“He’s in fighting mode,” said one attendee of McConnell. “He didn’t get into specifics about what they are doing and how they are going to do it, but McConnell and (Texas Sen. John) Cornyn were particularly forceful.”
The attendee said McConnell “said everything that needed to be said” to help tamp down growing concern among bundlers and donors over how the GOP continues to be paralyzed by anti-establishment members like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). Neither lawmaker attended the event.
McConnell’s presentation was part of a National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser that more than a dozen Senate Republican lawmakers attended. His comments were seen as an attempt to assuage the worry among many veteran Republicans over the party’s political strategy and how it could impact the 2014 election, according to several present.
McConnell also told attendees that Republicans are ready to challenge the tactics of the party’s anti-establisment wing,
unlike the passive approach of the past two election cycles, and said they will fight back against people “who believe words like negotiate and compromise” are a bad thing.McConnell and Cornyn were very specific about directing their fire at groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund,
whom they believe have actively misled donors about what is legislatively achievable in order to raise money off of their frustrations, according to another attendee.
The senators did not publicly discuss whether they would support or encourage businesses and trade associations to play a more aggressive role in primaries.