Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is out with a statement blasting House Speaker John Boehner's (R) "fiscal cliff" proposal, saying the plan would "destroy American jobs."
The House Republican proposal would increase tax collections by $800 billion over the next decade by reforming the tax code. Altogether, the plan would reduce borrowing by $2.2 trillion through 2022 — or by as much as $4.6 trillion when previously enacted spending cuts, interest savings and reductions in war spending are taken into account.
For the first time, Boehner managed to get his entire leadership team behind the plan -- including conservative champions such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.). But DeMint was not impressed.
"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,” DeMint said in a statement. "[I]f 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."
The conservative senator's comments are a reminder that even as Republican leadership refuses to raise tax rates, there's a wing of the party that considers closing loopholes and deductions a bridge too far.
Interestingly, it was DeMint who said in September that Republicans might have to raise taxes to avoid massive defense cuts.
“You can’t get a deal with Obama without raising taxes on the producing class of folks,” he told Bloomberg. “If Republicans want to maintain the defense, we’re going to have to give tax increases to Obama."
The tea party-aligned FreedomWorks (which just lost chairman Dick Armey) also attacked the Republican plan.
“Is there room in the House Republican Conference for legislators who believe that Washington is spending too much money it does not have?" the group's president, Matt Kibbe, said in a statement. "Based on this remarkably hostile act by leadership, the answer may be no."
So did the Heritage Foundation blog, where the proposal was described as "bad policy, bad economics, and, if we may say so, highly questionable as a negotiating tactic."
And Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said the proposal "leaves Conservatives wanting.”