Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) expressed doubt on Sunday that President Obama can provide any viable economic policies to create jobs and gain bipartisan support.
“Frankly, I am so tired of his speeches, it’s going to be hard for me to watch,” DeMint said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We need a plan in writing, he needs to send it to us and tell us what it is going to cost so not only Congress and the American people can read it, businesses can read it.”
“I don’t think the president is going to come out with things that are really going to create jobs,” DeMint said. “I’m afraid [Obama’s ideas are] just pandering to his base. None of them are like what I’ve been hearing from businesses all over the country.”
Obama will address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, in a speech that could be one of the most important of his presidency, although Republican lawmakers have begun their assault on what they’re saying will be recycled ideas that haven’t worked to boost economic growth.
An extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and tax incentives for hiring aren’t what businesses are asking for, DeMint said.
He added that small business owners say that economic uncertainty is keeping them from hiring.
“What they want is some certainty,” he said. “They want the regulators off their back, the National Labor Relations Board to stop pushing the union agenda and try to help companies that create jobs.”
A recent survey of small businesses by McClatchy countered DeMint’s argument, as none of the small businesses asked complained about any regulatory issues and in, most cases, agreed that rules are needed.
Several said the lack of regulation in mortgage lending led to the financial crisis and the recession.
Instead they cited the requirement for insurance, drop-in customer demand, dealing with red tape at the Small Business Administration to get government-backed loans and even the Internet, which provides customers sometimes cheaper choices for products, harming small businesses.
DeMint asked the White House to send up a written proposal and that he would “give it every chance,” instead of Obama giving another speech.
“Without sending something in writing, the president makes all these grand gestures,” he told “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley.
“We need to lower the risk of being in business and make sure there’s ample reward for that risk,” he said.
DeMint expressed concern that some unemployed workers are taking advantage of the system and there needs to be better policy to get them working again.
“We have to help those who are in need, but whenever we create a government program like this, people game the system,” he said.
“We need to move them into the workforce.”
DeMint also defended the Tea Party when asked about its unpopularity among independents, saying the movement “brought some accountability to Washington.”
“Over 70 percent of Americans think we need to balance our budget … that’s what the Tea Party is.”
The South Carolina Republican downplayed his role as a leader of the Tea Party.
“I’m not head of the Tea Party … there are thousands of leaders who have become active as citizens.”
Although DeMint didn’t endorse a specific Republican running for president, he said there’s no one in the field “who would not do a better job than our current president.”