Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the Pied Piper of the incoming congressional class of Tea Party pols, said on Sunday that he would be open to a compromise proposal on the expiring Bush tax cuts.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," the South Carolina Republican was asked if he could feasibly vote for a package that saw the current rates extended across the board for a two-to-three year period.
"I hope we can get a permanent extension," he replied. "But if the president wants to compromise on a two or three year extension, what's important here is that businesses know what their tax rates are going to be over the next few years so they can plan growth and plan to add people. If we keep things in a state of flux then I'm afraid we are going to continue to have a jobs problem.
"If that is all we can get out of the president well, then he is president, so we will work with him on that, but I hope he doesn't come back with the idea of 'oh we are going to raise taxes on 750,000 small businesses,' as he's been talking about. I think if he can work on our side of the ledger, I think we can worth together."
DeMint's openness to negotiation suggests that there is, in fact, an end game to the high-stakes tax debate. He is, after all, the senator who led the charge for strict opposition to the president's health care plan.
That said, the compromise he is proposing is one written largely on Republican terms. Even the White House, which has signaled its willingness to negotiate on the matter, has refused to budge from its belief that the middle class rates should be extended permanently while the rates of the wealthy should revert to previous levels or be extended for a temporary period of time.