Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who shocked Washington on Thursday with the announcement that he would resign his Senate seat in January to become president of the the Heritage Foundation, sent a parting shot at Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) over the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
“I’m not with Boehner,” DeMint said on CNN’s "The Situation Room." “This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government.”
Two high-profile conservative groups lashed out at the GOP offer, one of which was the Heritage Action for America, a sister organization to the Heritage Foundation.
“Republicans were reelected in the House to stop Pres. Obama's agenda, not figure out creative ways to fund it,” Heritage Action for America communications director Dan Holler told The Hill in an email.
On Tuesday, DeMint released his own statement trashing the GOP plan.
“Speaker Boehner’s $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny,” he said in a statement. “If neither party leadership is going to put forward a serious plan to balance the budget and pay down the debt, we should end this charade.”
DeMint and other Tea Party lawmakers have at times been a thorn in the side of GOP leadership, which has had to work to keep its fiery base content while finding areas of compromise with Democrats.
DeMint said there was room for Republicans to work with Democrats on tax reform ahead of the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” deadline, but said the GOP should not negotiate until Democrats produce a "serious" debt-reduction plan.
“The president has known about this so-called cliff for a year and has yet to produce a plan that is comprehensive that reduces our deficit,” he continued. “So I’m willing to work with anyone who is willing to put a plan on the table, but our party should not be willing to sit down and negotiate with someone who would not put a plan on the table, and the president has not put a serious plan on the table.”
The White House’s initial offer proposed $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue through higher rates on high-income earners.
Polling suggests the public supports a compromise that includes tax increases and spending cuts. DeMint argues that’s because Republicans have not done a good enough job of selling their policies to the people. He said he can do that better at Heritage than he could as a member of the U.S. Senate.
“After this last election it’s apparent that we need to do more as conservatives to convince Americans that our ideas and our policies will make their lives better,” he said. “I can do that better at Heritage.”