DeMint Tells GOP: ‘Do Not Cave’ on Spending

Posted October 5, 2010 at 1:48pm

Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Tuesday urged his fellow GOP Senators to keep the lame-duck session simple and put off any major spending decisions until after the new Congress convenes.

“The only acceptable outcome of the lame-duck session is a continuing resolution to keep government operating at current levels of spending and taxation, as I pushed the Senate to do in 2006 after Republicans lost the majority to the Democrats,” DeMint wrote in an opinion piece in National Review. “No last-minute earmarks, no add-ons, no tax increases, and no big deficit spending.”

DeMint said that the CR passed during the lame-duck session in 2006 led to a year without earmarks, and said that should be the goal this year as well.

“To stop a wasteful omnibus and instead secure a continuing resolution, Republicans must hold together,” he said.

A DeMint amendment that would have extended the omnibus until February received 39 votes before the Senate adjourned earlier this month, but the South Carolina Republican notes that Republicans could have reinforcements from Delaware, Illinois and West Virginia. Winners of those races would be seated during the lame-duck session, possibly giving Republicans three more votes.

“Republicans must not cave. …When the Democrats come back in December to box up their personal belongings, Republicans must make sure that’s all they take with them.”

If Republicans filibustered an omnibus, Democrats would be left with the choice of pushing the issue off until the next Congress convenes or forcing a government shutdown. And Demint’s push could be an early test of his clout in a remade Senate.