DeMint: Debt-ceiling debate will show if Tea Party is still 'a force'

The debate over increasing the debt ceiling will show whether the Tea Party still has influence, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) said Monday.

"We're going to find out if the Tea Party's still there in force in the next few weeks on this debt limit because we're trying to recruit Americans right now and there is a website  — cutcapbalancepledge.com," DeMint, a favorite of Tea Party supporters, said while speaking on York, Pa., radio station WSBA. 

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"We're encouraging Americans to sign up, call their congressmen and senators and help us create some pressure in Washington and let those people know who are standing firm that Americans are with them. So we'll know in the next few weeks if the Tea Party is still there, if they're still active."

DeMint has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the backup plan for increasing the debt-ceiling unveiled by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

On Friday, DeMint pledged to "use every tool" in the Senate to stop McConnell's plan, which authorizes President Obama to raise the debt ceiling in three separate increments. The only way Congress could stop Obama would be with resolutions of disapproval that the president could veto if they failed to meet a two-thirds majority threshold in both chambers of Congress.

“It basically says you can raise the debt limit, but we don’t have to vote for it,” DeMint said on the Scott Hennen radio show on Sunday. “It’s like leaving the jail door open and looking the other way, then saying it’s not our fault.”


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