DeMint says he'll vote against tax deal

A leading conservative voice in the Senate said Tuesday he will vote against the tax cut deal President Obama brokered with Republicans in Congress. 

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said that he will oppose a potential cloture vote on the accord and a final vote if the package advances past a possible filibuster. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"No," the senator said his votes will be on the conservative Hugh Hewitt Show

DeMint's stance indicates that a number of Republicans are not yet on board with the proposal in addition to a seemingly large bloc of Democrats in the House and Senate. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said earlier Wednesday he is "pleased" with the deal and hoped that "a large majority of members of the Republican conference will find this a proposal worth supporting."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has lead liberal opposition to the plan in the Senate, reiterated Tuesday that he is prepared to filibuster the deal after Obama held an afternoon press conference to sell the plan to skeptics. 

The senator explained the timing of his announcement by saying that he was, "kind of holding my fire to let the liberals blast this thing first."

The crux of the proposal includes a two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. 

The South Carolina senator said that he wants the unemployment benefits favored by Democrats to be fully funded. He also raised issue with the proposed changes to the estate tax, which will increase to 35 percent on estates valued over $5 million.

"I’m glad the President recognizes that tax increases hurt the economy. I mean, I guess that’s progress," he said. "But frankly, Hugh, most of us who ran this election said we were not going to vote for anything that increased the deficit. This does. It raises taxes, it raises the death tax. I don’t think we needed to negotiate that aspect of this thing away. I don’t think we need to extend unemployment any further without paying for it, and without making some modifications such as turning it into a loan at some point."

DeMint said that "the biggest problem" he has with the plan is that it does not extend the tax cuts permanently.

Two influential House Republicans, Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Michele Bachmann (Minn.), foreshadowed DeMint's announcement by indicating this week that Republicans could vote down the tax plan.