As the debt debate continues to rage in Washington, reports are citing the McConnell-Reid debt plan as one that would give President Obama the authority to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit as a “backup” strategy for averting national default.
However, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) warned of the plan’s “suicidal” affects for Republicans during a Q & A session with activists at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.
“I think for Republicans to cave on this after what happened with the continuing resolution … you would see a deterioration in our base of support and a whole lot of third party activity. I’m afraid this is make or break time for Republicans,” DeMint said.
His remarks come just days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned of the political ramifications defaulting on the national debt could have for Republicans.
“(Democrats) want to blame the economy on us and the reason default is no better an idea today than when Newt Gingrich tried it in 1995 is that it destroys your brand. It would give the president an opportunity to blame Republicans for a bad economy,” McConnell told conservative commentator Laura Ingraham during a interview Wednesday. “Look, he owns the economy. He’s been in office almost three years now, and we refuse to let him entice us into co-ownership of a bad economy.”
DeMint went on to say that whether the McConnell plan can pass Congress depends on the amount of “outside pressure.” McConnnell said there might be sufficient support in the Senate for the plan if enough Republicans joined forces with the Democrats. He was not as sure about the plan's chances in the House.
“I don't think the McConnell plan as we understand it today could pass the House but by the moment they are adding bells and whistles and window dressings to it — comissions and cuts,” Demint said. “Before it is over, it will be historic I am sure.”
As it currently stands, DeMint said he would not vote in favor of the McConnell-Reid debt plan.