House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) opted to wade finally into the the "fiscal cliff" frenzy with an official GOP counter-offer to President Barack Obama's opening bid. His efforts have not been without some of the same intra-party migraines that have traditionally bedeviled his tenure as speaker, however.
And the latest headache comes courtesy of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who rejected Boehner's bid, despite having previously stated that the sort of concessions that Boehner makes in his counteroffer would be absolutely necessary to cutting a deal.
Boehner's counteroffer, such as it is, is fairly Romney-esque, in that its revenue formula is derived from "$800 billion" through reforms in the tax code, specifically "limiting or closing unspecified tax loopholes, deductions, and lowering tax rates." Under Boehner's proposal, the Bush-era tax rates would be extended for all earners. Boehner has claimed that his plan is inspired by Erskine Bowles, but Bowles has basically said, 'Ha, ha: no.'
And today, DeMint piles on with criticism of his own, referring to Boehner's offer as a "tax hike": "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."
"If neither party leadership is going to put forward a serious plan to balance the budget and pay down the debt," he added, "we should end this charade."
But DeMint has a charade of his own going. Let's cast our minds back to Sept. 21, 2012, and how DeMint saw the endgame at the time. Per Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla:
Last week, one of the Republican Party's most ardent tax-cut advocates said if Obama is re-elected, there's not much point in delaying a compromise on taxes.
"You can't get a deal with Obama without raising taxes on [top income earners]," said South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a leader of the limited-spending Tea Party movement. "We might as well cut a deal," he said. "If Republicans want to maintain the defense, we're going to have to give tax increases to Obama."
At the time, DeMint "clarified" his statement by saying that "while a tax increase would be necessary to get a deal with Obama, he would personally 'never' support it," thus straining the definition of "clarified."
At any rate, 'Aksdfjkafdgjadljasdfjklsd,' is what I imagine John Boehner said in response to DeMint.
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