By CNN Political Unit
Washington (CNN) — Sen. Jim DeMint, an influential conservative Republican from South Carolina, urged his party to take a firm stance against bringing in additional federal revenues in the current “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
“Republicans should not be conceding that the federal government needs more money, negotiating with ourselves, and treating the president’s proposal like it’s serious,” he said.
Republicans and Democrats appear to be back in gridlock after each side sent the other a proposal in recent days which was nearly immediately dismissed by the other. House Speaker John Boehner said over the weekend he was “flabbergasted” by President Barack Obama’s proposal, while the president said Tuesday that the math behind the GOP plan “does not work.”
Should Congressional Republicans and the White House not reach a deal before the new year, a series of tax increases and steep spending cuts would automatically go into effect.
DeMint added his voice to the fray Tuesday morning with a tweet critical of the House Republican proposal, which included an extension of the Bush-era tax breaks as well as accomplishing $2.2 trillion in savings, among them $600 billion in non-entitlement spending cuts and $800 billion in “health savings.”
He tweeted: “Speaker Boehner’s offer of an $800 billion tax hike will destroy jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more.”
The Palmetto State Republican defended his stance, saying, “This federal government doesn’t need more money.”
“This country needs less federal government. We’re gonna be near historic highs of tax revenues in Washington this year. More money than we’ve ever had. So it’s not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem,” he said.
He chided Republicans, saying “this is not a time to negotiate with ourselves” and describing Obama’s proposal as “outlandish.”
The primary Republican objection to Obama’s plan is his support for extending the Bush-era tax cuts only on income under $250,000 for families, while letting those lowered rates expire and increase on income above that threshold. The two parties are also split on spending cuts and entitlement program reforms, as well as the amount of additional revenues.
“This is a time to work together where we can, but it’s clear that what Obama wants is not a solution to our deficit problem, because his proposal doesn’t even come close, and it’s not a plan at all,” DeMint said.
Asked if Boehner had reacted to his position, DeMint laughed.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but I haven’t checked my emails.”
— CNN’s Gregory Wallace and Paul Courson contributed to this report