DeMint: America 'on its knees' because of debt, oil dependence

"Instead of addressing the real issues ... instead of debating what we are really up against, we have been dealing with the patent bill," he said.

The Patent Reform Act has stalled on the Senate floor since Feb. 28, due in part to controversy over the fiscal year 2011 budget, and a stopgap measure that prevented government funding from running out after March 4.

But even ongoing negotiations off the Senate floor to reach a compromise between Republicans’ plan to cut $57 billion more and Democrats' plan to cut another $6.5 billion were not enough for DeMint.

"We have a Congress that, instead of addressing the issue of a trillion-and-a-half dollars [the current estimate of the deficit], is debating between $61 billion and $6 billion,” said DeMint.  “These are fractional. You cannot even see the line here of what is being proposed by our Democratic colleagues."

The Senate floor was mostly quiet Tuesday afternoon as senators worked on a spending on the budget. No votes are currently scheduled.