A leading Senate conservative predicted on Thursday morning that President Obama will win enough Republican vote to raise taxes on wealthy Americans.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), whose announcement last week that he was resigning his Senate seat reverberated through the political world, said on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday that a resolution to the fiscal cliff crisis would come on the president’s terms.
"He's going to get his wish,” DeMint said of Obama. “I believe we're going to be raising taxes and not just on the top earners."
Economists have warned that inaction by Congress could have dire economic consequences, and Obama appears to have the upper hand in his push for a deal that includes raising taxes on the wealthy. Despite considerable Republican opposition to that type of deal, DeMint said Obama’s re-election victory has strengthened his hand.
“The president campaigned on raising taxes and getting rid of the Bush-era tax cuts, and he’s going to get his wish,” DeMint said. And even though President Obama has consistently called for raising taxes only on the most affluent Americans, DeMint warned that “everyone is going to be paying more taxes in the country and I believe that’s what the president wants.”
DeMint’s warning echoes conservative anger about the prospect of higher taxes. As Speaker of the House John Boehner is working to corral restive Republicans who are resisting a deal that includes more tax revenue, he is contending with more right-wing Republicans who say such a compromise would surrender their commitment to smaller government.
Among those critics are Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan and Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, both conservative Republicans whom Boehner stripped of committee posts. Amash and Huelskamp have said they are being punished for not falling into line, and some prominent conservative organizations have slammed Boehner both for booting Amash and Huelskamp and for endorsing the idea of more tax revenue.
The mounting pushback underscores DeMint’s reasons for leaving the Senate. A leading Senate patron of the tea party, DeMint is departing to lead the Heritage Foundation, which has in recent days criticized Boehner for advancing Obama’s agenda. DeMint has added to that critique, saying Boehner is selling out his party.
“I’m not with Boehner,” DeMint said on CNN’s "The Situation Room” after announcing his departure from the Senate last week. “This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government.”