The debate between Sens. John Thune (R., S.D.) and Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) highlighted the divides between the two parties that have made a compromise so difficult these past weeks.
“There’s a philosophical difference here on the Hill,” said McCaskill on Meet the Press, criticizing the Republicans for being willing to shift Medicare to a voucher system, but not end tax credits for oil companies.
“The Republican approach to solving this is cutting government and growing the economy,” said Thune, arguing that high government spending was hurting the economy’s ability to grow.
Thune declined to say if he would support the new, tentative deal reached to hike the debt ceiling, noting that he had not yet seen the details of the plan. He did emphasize entitlement reform would have to be part of any long-term solution to the current deficits.
McCaskill said that defense spending cuts should be one of the automatic cuts triggered if a bipartisan joint super-committee’s recommendations fail to pass Congress. She also agreed that Medicare cuts could be another trigger.
Thune said he did not intend to run for president this cycle. Asked about the vice presidency, Thune said, “I’m not going to rule anything out.”