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Mitch McConnell Hates Increasing the Deficit—Except When It Benefits Corporations

Getty Images/Alex Wong

Back in January, Mitch McConnell demanded that Democrats “find a way to pay for” an extension of unemployment insurance. But he's entirely okay with adding tens of billions to the deficit to pay for tax breaks to corporations.

Americans for Tax Fairness and Public Campaign released a report Monday on the huge lobbying efforts by companies to renew 55 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013. These tax breaks, known as “tax extenders,” largely benefit big corporations like General Electric, HP and Citigroup. The report finds that between January 2011 and September 2013, 1,359 unique lobbyists representing 373 companies and trade associations contacted members of Congress or their staff about the tax package.

The list of companies who lobbied most intently for the tax extenders has some familiar names, many of which have donated to Republican and Democrat candidates in this election cycle. McConnell alone has received more than $100,000 in total from the top 10 companies who have lobbied most intensely, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The top three are the Bank of New York Mellon, Prudential Financial and Citigroup.

Monday's report also cites a little-noticed remark McConnell made at the end of January about finding a spending offset for the tax package. "Typically, Republicans have felt that you shouldn't have to pay for current tax policy,” McConnell said. “I think occasionally these packages have been paid for, but most Republicans believe that existing tax policy should not be paid for.”

This was just a few weeks after McConnell's remark about unemployment insurance, a yearlong extension of which would cost $25.3 billion. The tax-extender package, on the other hand, would add $46 billion to the deficit in 2014.