Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint said Tuesday that the McConnell back-up plan on the debt limit could be the downfall for Republicans.
“I think for Republicans to cave on this after what happened with the Continuing Resolution, again, I think you’d see a deterioration of base of support, and a whole lot of third party activity,” said DeMint at a meeting at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. “I’m afraid this is make or break time for Republicans.”
DeMint’s comments came in response to a question about the back-up plan being worked on by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. When it was first introduced by McConnell last week, the plan caused a fierce backlash among conservatives. (TUCKER CARLSON & NEIL PATEL: McConnell’s horrifying conclusion)
But while the back-up option is by all accounts gaining traction, DeMint warned it could be the undoing of the Grand Old Party.
“It’d be suicidal for Republicans in the House to vote for it,” said DeMint.
The Senator, who is a conservative hero across the country, was one of the original signers of the Cut, Cap, Balance pledge, and then one of the co-sponsors when it was put into legislative language. But on Tuesday, DeMint not only blasted moderate debt-limit deals, he had harsh words for the entire process as well.
“Forgive me for being cynical,” said DeMint, “but it was pretty apparent to me that this was never a good faith effort.”
“The whole working group was designed to burn the clock up, push against a deadline,” the senator added. “The President needs a crisis to blame us for the economy that he has made worse with his policies.”
The Republican-controlled House may easily pass the CCB, though it was almost certainly face an uphill battle in the Senate. Moreover, President Obama publicly stated even if the proposal reaches his desk, he will veto it.
Meanwhile, McConnell’s back-up plan continues to gain steam among Congressional leadership. On Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a press conference that “it’s responsible for us to look at what Plan B would look like.”
The plan would allow the president to request three separate debt increases in $2.5 trillion intervals. Congress could, that that point, only bock the increases by passing a resolution of disapproval, though it would be subject to a presidential veto.
But Republicans, said DeMint, can’t simply pass the buck of responsibility to the president over when it comes to the country’s borrowing limit. Republicans won’t get away with it, he said
Ten years ago, continued DeMint, “We could have gotten away with, ‘He raised the debt limit. It’s his fault.’ But now, as I’ve said, this is like leaving the door to the federal vault open, looking the other way, and blaming someone else for the bank robbery.”
Vince Coglianese contributed to this report.