DeMint: I’ll use every tool I have to stop the McConnell plan

posted at 10:12 am on July 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Right now, Senate caucus leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are putting their heads together to flesh out the specifics of the Plan Z proposal McConnell floated at the beginning of the week.  Reid’s involvement has actually improved the idea, National Review’s Rich Lowry concedes, but that doesn’t give conservative firebrand Senator Jim DeMint any warm fuzzies.  On Twitter a few minutes ago, DeMint announced that he would block the McConnell plan if presented to the Senate with “every tool” at his disposal:

JimDeMint: I’ll use every tool in Senate to stop passage of “Plan B” blank check debt limit increase.

JimDeMint: No Republican was elected to give President Obama more power and that’s what this plan does.

Every tool means three in particular: the hold, the filibuster, and withholding unanimous consent.  The hold is not a permanent block on consideration, however.  Senate rules allow for holds to be overridden, although it takes days of floor votes to do so.  It’s actually similar to the filibuster, as the remedy is the cloture vote to end debate as in filibusters.  If McConnell and Reid united on a plan, one would presume that they could carry enough votes to reach 60, especially since Democrats in the Senate would probably follow the White House lead on this plan.

Unanimous consent is another matter entirely.  One Senator can force a near-stoppage of Senate business by withholding unanimous consent simply by objecting to every time-saving order of business on the floor.  Bills would have to be read aloud in their entirety as an example, or roll call votes conducted to bypass those requirements.  It’s the tedium option, and in this case DeMint has a big advantage: the calendar.  A solution to the debt-ceiling issue is now pressing, and the longer DeMint can stall the Senate on all of its business, the more distant the prospects for this proposal becomes.

DeMint is right that this gives the President more power on the debt ceiling, although it’s not entirely unchecked power, and it is for a limited time only.  It comes with a price — the responsibility for unpopular increases and further spending.  But politically, DeMint is right that handing more power to Obama is not the kind of action that convinced voters to send more Republicans to Congress.

The better bet would be to have the House pass a short-term debt-ceiling increase with balancing spending cuts, and dare the Senate and the President to kill it.  Is Boehner moving on that front yet?

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GO DEMINT GO!

gophergirl on July 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM

here is the thing, is more power now worth more of a chance of defeating him later and repairing the damage? Otherwise any deal is going to be made to look like a victory for Obama by the press and therefore harder to beat him later.

Zaggs on July 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM

The better bet would be to have the House pass a short-term debt-ceiling increase with balancing spending cuts, and dare the Senate and the President to kill it. Is Boehner moving on that front yet?

That would require Boehner to have stones and a clue. Sorry. Any chance we can get Scott Walker or the head of the Minnesota state legislature to come in and pinch hit for the Boner on this deal?

Outlander on July 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

The better bet would be to have the House pass a short-term debt-ceiling increase with balancing spending cuts, and dare the Senate and the President to kill it. Is Boehner moving on that front yet?

Again, everyone knows this is what has to be done. But it can’t be done because Boehner doesn’t have the votes in his own caucus to do this.

Mark1971 on July 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

You know mcconnell will have the Maine twins brine and graham behind him
Cripe

Is anyone watching the boehner presser, will they bring up a short term bill like ed suggested?

cmsinaz on July 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM

This article is full of fail, but it’s right in the sense McConnell has given Barry the out he wanted.

Where the president’s mounting frustration will lead remains to be seen. What did he mean when he told the Republicans not to “call my bluff”? Although Obama, the constitutional law professor, would prefer not to invoke a controversial 14th Amendment power to overrule Congress and raise the debt by fiat, he can now cite McConnell (and many other conservatives) in his defense. Should the Republicans in the House someday seek to impeach him over such a move, he could honestly reply that he was responding to a clear and present danger to the nation and the world — and that the leaders of their own party in the Senate had agreed with him.

Americans who broadly oppose default, and who overwhelmingly favor increasing taxes on the rich to avoid it, might well be persuaded by that argument.

SouthernGent on July 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM

My assessment of Boehner is that, despite all his tough talk (and we know the value of talk), he will ultimately cave. He’s an establishment Republican. It’s what they do.

SKYFOX on July 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Otherwise any deal is going to be made to look like a victory for Obama by the press and therefore harder to beat him later.

Zaggs on July 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM

DING!

The entire premise for McConnell’s plan and what he thinks will be the upside is “Obama will OWN any debt limit increase!”

This is naivety at its worst because the media/Dems will defuse that meme in an instant. They will claim the GOP abdicated its responsibility as a last resort and they have to reluctantly go along to protect the country’s credit rating and fulfill its debt obligations – of course, handed down from the evil Bush.

It is indeed a dangerous ploy from McConnell, one that is calculated to weaken the GOP by riling its base but keeps the Dems largely united. A plan that heavily depends on Dems votes for passage is NOT a good plan for the GOP no matter how it is spinned.

TheRightMan on July 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM

That would require Boehner to have stones and a clue. Sorry. Any chance we can get Scott Walker or the head of the Minnesota state legislature to come in and pinch hit for the Boner on this deal?

Outlander on July 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

It’s got nothing to do with Boehner. It’s the members of his caucus that refuse to vote for a debt ceiling increase under any circumstance that are preventing this option.

Mark1971 on July 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM

My credit card co. just refused to raise my debt limit. How am I going to keep up my three houses, yacht, vacation on the Riviera, children in better private schools and our country club dues? All this is done to me because they say $100.00 a week income is not enough to service my debt. They must be some damn Republicans!

Herb on July 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

The better bet would be to have the House pass a short-term debt-ceiling increase with balancing spending cuts, and dare the Senate and the President to kill it. Is Boehner moving on that front yet?

Seems to me I’ve heard this from Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Krauthammer, etc. going back a week or more ago! What is taking them so long????

Christian Conservative on July 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

He’s an establishment Republican. It’s what they do.

SKYFOX on July 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM

^

artist on July 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

“The room’s too big,” Boehner said in an interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. “There are too many people in there trying to negotiate what is a very difficult, could be and will be a very difficult agreement. There are just too many people in there pouring cold water on virtually every idea that gets thrown on the table.”

President Obama has convened five straight days of meetings with eight congressional leaders from the House and Senate, along with Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and several White House aides. Boehner did not say who he thought did not belong in the room, and a spokesman for the Speaker would not elaborate.

So Valerie Jarrett really is the de facto president. Is Rev Wright saying the opening prayer?

SouthernGent on July 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I did watch the presser and I almost can’t believe my ears. Are they really demanding that obama put a plan in writing, and planning to pass Cut, Cap & Balance next week?

That must have been one hell of a caucus meeting!

Naturally Curly on July 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

This whole sequence of events seems strangely familiar.

There have been other historical instances when an elected leader is handed more power in times of emergencies.

Perhaps before repeating this history we should examine what has happened in the past.

NMRN123 on July 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

the responsibility for unpopular increases and further spending

Ed, explain this. Please. He already is responsible for the increase in spending over these years, as no republican has voted for a single expansion in spending since the stimulus. So you MUST be talking about the “perception” when you write a sentence like that. But as with everyone on our side who’s making your argument, they’ve failed to explain why they think THIS time it’ll be different and the Press will finally hold Obama accountable and the American people will have the scales fall from their eyes and see it. Please explain how Obama will take the blame.

Weight of Glory on July 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Whatever statute is enacted giving Obama more power will be another rushed deal with ambiguities the administration can find or create. We know that Obama will push whatever new power he gets far beyond any intended limits; just look at how easily he pushes aside the US Constitution. I agree with DeMint: Do not give the dictator-want-to-be Obama more legislation as a basis for him to grab greater power. We aren’t Venezuela, yet, are we?

GaltBlvnAtty on July 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I still do not understand why the House cannot pass a short term bill to the end of this fiscal year that cuts as much as it raises( raises could be loopholes and user fees). It could be explained that it is neutral monetarily and that time has run out on any big long range deal. This would put Obama into the position of having to beg for tax increases during an election year and none or very few Demorats would vote for it. And if Obama vetoed this short term deal then it would be his shutdown and not the Repubs. Can someone tell me why this wouldn’t work?

inspectorudy on July 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Paul Ryan was very clear this morning in an interview. The House is the only tool they have in the drawer to hold the line and he sees no chance of a tax increase being approved in that chamber. He also said the only path he is advocating, with much support, is to only raise the debt limit by the amount that is cut immediately. The lower the cut, the lower the extension.

He is not aware of any solid commitments Obama has fully endorsed to cut spending but assumes defense will be targeted in any dem plan. He said Obama is not going after any structural changes to entitlements and is only looking for enough of an extension to get him past November 2012. He also mentioned the tremendous tax increases set in law coming on January 1, 2013. $1.5 trillion if I heard him right.

Call these reps and let them know you are paying attention. I’m from Texas and found Cantor’s staff to be very enthusiastic and very busy.

DanMan on July 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Again, everyone knows this is what has to be done. But it can’t be done because Boehner doesn’t have the votes in his own caucus to do this.

Mark1971 on July 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Kill off that meme in an instant!

A vote to increase the debt limit will pass in the House with GOP votes, provided it is coupled with actual (not gimmicky) spending cuts! There is a minority that will not vote for the bill under any circumstance but not enough to derail the bill.

Infact, Boehner will be stupid not to bring up such a bill for consideration but rely on the McConnell plan that can only pass with Dem and RINO votes. Instead of giving McConnell/Dems hope, he should proclaim the McConnell plan DOA in the House and refuse to bring it up!

TheRightMan on July 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

DeMint is right that this gives the President more power on the debt ceiling, although it’s not entirely unchecked power, and it is for a limited time only. It comes with a price — the responsibility for unpopular increases and further spending.

It’s also unconstitutional, as it allows the president to increase our debt obligation, thus requiring us to spend more money, with only a congressional veto. But the allocation of money to be spent can only originate in Congress, and only the president has the power of veto. This is a reversal of the established constitutional order, and I’d be shocked if there weren’t a court challenge to it.

irishspy on July 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

TheRightMan on July 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Mark1971 on July 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

By the way, I spoke with Sen. Cornyn’s office this morning, and they told me that he’s still not on board with McConnell’s plan. And since he’s the Chairman of the NRSC, I’m hoping his lack of support is a good sign.

Weight of Glory on July 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM

ATTENTION RNC!!! this is the last warning!!!! do NOT pass a tax hike!!! and lets primary Mitch and send him home!!

grapeknutz on July 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Jim DeMInt is a “firebrand?” Really? How so?

DaydreamBeliever on July 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM

So Obama is getting ready for yet another speech. Who’s going to risk a coronary and watch it so I don’t have to?

sandee on July 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM

This is a reversal of the established constitutional order, and I’d be shocked if there weren’t a court challenge to it.

irishspy on July 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Court challenges are an empty threat in the short and mid terms, which this would be.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Typical, msdnc does not show boehners presser, only Nancys presser

Shameful

cmsinaz on July 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The better bet would be to have the House pass a short-term debt-ceiling increase with balancing spending cuts, and dare the Senate and the President to kill it. Is Boehner moving on that front yet?

This makes no sense at all!!!

If you have “balancing spending cuts,” THERE IS NO NEED FOR A DEBT-LIMIT INCREASE!!!!

If the current Debt is D1 and the proposed overspending is X and the cuts are also equal to X, the new Debt (D2) will be:

D2 = D1 + X – X = D1

In other words, the only way a new Debt ceiling is required is if people are lying about either the additional overspending, the cuts, or both!!

Did everyone in Washington flunk basic math??? And how did this disease manage to infect even our own Ed Morrissey so that he bought into this foolishness today??

landlines on July 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Typical, msdnc does not show boehners presser, only Nancys presser

Shameful

cmsinaz on July 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Why is the witch having a presser?

sandee on July 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

anybody have a link to his presser?

DanMan on July 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM

TheRightMan on July 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I fear Mark is correct and that Boehner will not do as you wish he would. Boehner has no record to support the notion that he won’t fold.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Pep rally, with the usual talking points

They are showing the entire dem presser and couldn’t be bothered with gop

cmsinaz on July 15, 2011 at 10:49 AM

McConnell is a tool. Use him.

Lily on July 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM

McConnell is a tool.
Lily on July 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM

He certainly is and all RINO’s need to have their butts kicked out of Congress. We have Obama on the run, why are these candyasses caving… oh never mind, they’re Republicans. The last one to have a backbone (except Rubio and DeMint) was shot at Ford’s Theater.

flytier on July 15, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I have been waiting for language from someone like DeMint or Paul, regarding the McConnell plan B. Once they give up on the lifting of the debt increase and turn that over to the president, I think they lose all leverage and I just don’t see where the cuts will come in. What if they can’t agree on the cuts? It’s always the same deal, the increase are real, verifiable and happen immediately. the cuts then become fuzzy, happen in the out years, and are hard to verify.

exceller on July 15, 2011 at 11:07 AM

I wish DeMint was the Senate Minority Leader…

Khun Joe on July 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM

The last one to have a backbone

Can we dial this stuff back a bit? Look at the work Cantor, Ryan, Pence and McCaul are doing. They have true solidarity under intense media attacks and we need to support them. McConnell’s point about not wanting to help Obama get elected was a reference to Clinton winning the shutdown battle in 1995. I don’t agree with his plan but he is working with what he has. Between DeMint and the House it won’t fly.

We need to let them know we are not paying succumbing to the attacks. Everyone knows our media is our enemy in this battle.

DanMan on July 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Have any of you seen this at the Blaze?

Mirimichi on July 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Following Jim off the cliff in three..two…one…ahhhhhhhhhhhh

I know he is right, but missing the deadline will kill Republicans in 2012. To put it simply, missing the deadline will give Obama the chance to blame the Republicans for the pending double dip…

We need to win back the White House and Senate before we can let DeMint have some real power…

RedSoxNation on July 15, 2011 at 11:20 AM

When he is not talking about schoolteachers or Christine O’Donnell, I love this man. He is the

Raisedbywolves on July 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM

When he is not talking about schoolteachers or Christine O’Donnell, I love this man. He is the perfect foil to McConnell and one of a handful of courageous conviction-driven senators. He never backs down from a worthy fight. Give en hell Jim, Rand, and Ron.

Raisedbywolves on July 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Go DeMint!

Yeah we have to primary dipshit McConnel. He’s an affable moron.

dogsoldier on July 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM

To put it simply, missing the deadline will give Obama the chance to blame the Republicans for the pending double dip…

Here’s the thing. Ultimately, wrongly or rightly, voters always blame the guy in the oval office when things are bad. The American voter is a simple creature with a very short memory. They don’t parse nuances as to who did what back when. Whatever the ramifications of default, whatever hardships such a thing would theoretically bring, they will doom Obama first and foremost.

keep the change on July 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM

When are the establishment/RINO republicans realize they are now the third party. This sell-out will confirm that.

volsense on July 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Well well, the GOP may have life inside after all. Imagine someone actually fighting to stop the Wylie Coyote stupidity of giving Obama the power over the purse strings. The very power that the teaparty just elected folks to use firmly against Obama, is the same power that this idjit wants to give to him.

Don L on July 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM

House leaders taking questions after Obama’s presser. They sound solid to me.

DanMan on July 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM

It’s also unconstitutional, as it allows the president to increase our debt obligation, thus requiring us to spend more money, with only a congressional veto. But the allocation of money to be spent can only originate in Congress, and only the president has the power of veto. This is a reversal of the established constitutional order, and I’d be shocked if there weren’t a court challenge to it.

irishspy on July 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I don’t think so, Congress approved the budget. The problem is that the budget is higher than the revenues so you need to borrow the missing money. They would be giving him the authority to do that, not come up with new spending he isn’t authorized for.

Having said that, the House should send him and the Senate a dollar for dollar debt increase and let them choke on it. If they fail to pass or sign it then keep sending it to them everyday and flood the airwaves that it’s not the Republican’s fault for any default.

jnelchef on July 15, 2011 at 12:32 PM

The biggest downfall of the McConnell plan is it will be one of the final paving stones laid toward a U.S. Dictatorship.

You already have a Chief Executive who can fire CEO’s of oil companies … violate US law by selling arms to Mexican drug cartels … selectively enforce (and defend) laws that he agrees with … use the power of the White House press to destroy the reputations of corporate bondholders … enact “permanent bans” on drilling for oil and then thumb his nose at the courts when they hold him in contempt of their orders …

And … with all this … Mitch McConnell is willing to give this man more power so that Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the unpleasant task of doing his damn job?

McConnell should be run out of Washington on a rail … on a rail.

Certainly – none of the Founders of this nation would have chosen a plan for political expediency and abandonment of the checks and balances that are so important to democracy in the United States.

The best thing we can do, as Americans – is to show that this attitude is unacceptable – McConnell needs to be hounded out of the Senate. Why is he still the leader after proposing such an abdication?

HondaV65 on July 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

DAMINT 2012!!

leftnomore on July 15, 2011 at 1:16 PM

My credit card co. just refused to raise my debt limit. How am I going to keep up my three houses, yacht, vacation on the Riviera, children in better private schools and our country club dues? All this is done to me because they say $100.00 a week income is not enough to service my debt. They must be some damn Republicans!

Herb on July 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Oh, that the majority of our voting public could grasp it so plainly. *sigh*

pannw on July 15, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Excellent “House bluff call” idea was thought of and actually first proposed by Gingrich, maybe not the best looking one in the race but surely the smartest….

Rea1ityCheck on July 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

McConnell’s idea is unconstitutional, although the thought behind it makes some sense. DeMint is correct to oppose it, especially since the House seems poised to take up the “Cut, Cap, & Balance” approach he has advocated.

But if he intends to use every tool at his disposal, DeMint would be best served to reach across the aisle to Reid, Durbin, and Schumer. They’re some of the biggest tools in the country.

Adjoran on July 15, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Trump is right, the Rs are stupid and scared negotiators.

Schadenfreude on July 15, 2011 at 1:55 PM

The MSM always says that people want the two sides to come together and reach a compromise. Frankly, I’d bet that as time goes on more and more people will hope that they reach an insurmountable impasse that results in NO increase in the credit limit so that we can finally stop the profligate spending of BOTH sides of the isle.

FloatingRock on July 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Trump is right, the Rs are stupid and scared negotiators.

Schadenfreude on July 15, 2011 at 1:55 PM

And it’s probably caused by the fact that they’re trapped in the MSM narrative and have no idea how strong their position is. They’re defeatists.

FloatingRock on July 15, 2011 at 2:16 PM

So let me think, who else quit her job thinking it was a strategic move? I love Sarah Palin but that is an albatross around her neck she will never fully negate. So now McConnell wants to hang that same albatross around the necks of every Republican in congress? Sometimes you have to do the right thing no matter how much it hurts.

Metanis on July 15, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Rather than just complaining about McConnell’s plan maybe DeMint should come up with one of his own…an alternative that can actually serve some purpose other than making a self serving political statement.

McConnell’s plan would not have tax increases and it would force Obama to cut spending to match the debt increase. It would in a sense, give him enough rope to hang himself..now if people like DeMint think it is giving him too much authority then they need to be doing something about fighting Obama..not just spending their time going after other Republicans.

Terrye on July 15, 2011 at 2:25 PM

One Senator can force a near-stoppage of Senate business by withholding unanimous consent simply by objecting to every time-saving order of business on the floor. Bills would have to be read aloud in their entirety as an example, or roll call votes conducted to bypass those requirements.

Heck, I think the Senate should run this way every single day. How do we go about getting rid of this “unanimous consent” thing?

Anyway, he’s right. It’s a dumb bill, a bad plan, and it is, in fact, almost certainly unconstitutional to cede the President the authority to borrow money on his own. Especially this President, who has shown no hesitation whatsoever when stretching his executive powers to outright defy the legislature or the courts. And why not? Nobody in Congress calls him on it, and authoritarians get off on that kind of stuff.

I’m positive that if McConnell’s Somebody Elses Problem Act of 2011 gets passed, it would be soon used to justify a radical, permanent expansion of power for the Executive Branch.

GalosGann on July 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Didn’t we hear similar words of bravado from Senator DeMint prior to the health care fiasco? In the end, retaining his energy, his voice, and getting into his bed on time won the day. He’s been a profound disappointment in regards to leading any kind of conservative dissent. I have much more hope in my new favorite Sentator, Rand Paul. DeMint more and more seems to be part of the establishment. Make some noise, vote conservative, but in the end go along to get along and don’t make any truly obstructive waves.

afone2 on July 15, 2011 at 3:26 PM

McConnell the RINO and his plan is to give more power to Obama. Obama would not even have ask for what he is offering. Something has to be done and spending and borrowing does not help anything. Spending Cuts, jobs, reduce debt; problem solved.

old war horse on July 16, 2011 at 2:40 AM