Senate Republicans Toss DeMint Under The Bus On Tax Increases

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Something you don’t see very often in the Capitol: a Wednesday morning press conference with dozens of House and Senate members of both parties – including Republicans – acknowledging that they’d support a big deficit reduction proposal that includes higher tax revenue.

But wait, aren’t several of those Republicans the same ones who recently signed a letter, written by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), asking that the Super Committee recommend “no net tax increase”?

Indeed they are. And asked to address the inconsistency, one of those signatories basically said they don’t feel bound to DeMint’s demands.“Each of us have stated our preference for what we would do if we were doing it our own selves,” said Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), referring to the terms of the letter. “And the Republicans who have said that they don’t believe that raising taxes right now is the right way to approach the solution come from that perspective. What we are here today, however, to say is that we are ready to make compromises and build the solutions that can help bring all the parties together.”

Who knows whether the “Go Big” caucus would really stick together if the Super Committee recommended a package of $4 trillion in unpopular budget cuts and tax increases. But a substantial number of them are very publicly breaking from their negotiating positions. That’ll tick off DeMint, but the question is whether the showing is big enough to make Republicans on the Super Committee feel they have enough of a cushion below them to cut the conservative movement loose.

“So the fact that you may have members standing here who have different ideas about how far they would personally like to go on taxes or how far they would personally like to go on entitlement reform does not mean that they are not ready to stand here and make the kinds of decisions that will help us as a nation to solve our fiscal crisis,” Crapo said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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