Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he wasn't sure if he's ready to "shoot the hostage" and let the country default on its loans during his appearance on ABC's This Week. Republicans have been planning to pick up the fiscal fight when the President needs to ask for a debt ceiling increase since some noticed they were going to lose the cliff deal. McConnell's answer to whether or not he's prepared to let the nation default: "It’s not even necessary to get to that point. Why aren’t we trying to solve the problem? Why aren’t we trying to do something about reducing spending?... Waiting until the last minute is no way to run the government." He also said he would not be accepting any new revenues in a new deal. "The tax issue is over, finished, completed," McConnell told host George Stephanopolous. "Now the issue is: what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future, and that’s our spending addiction." McConnell predicted that the fiscal fight would dominate Obama's first three months of 2013, more than any other issue, including gun reform. "But the biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt," McConnell said. "That’s going to dominate the Congress between now and the end of March. None of these issues, I think, will have the kind of priority that spending and debt are going to have over the next two or three months."
In regards to the appointment of Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense, McConnell said he "ought to be given a fair hearing like any other nominee." He's prepared to go through the process with an open mind. "I’m going to wait and see how the hearings go and whether Chuck’s views square with the job he would be nominated to do," McConnell said.