Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Go Jim DeMint...!
Senate jam: DeMint also vows to block Obama speech
By JONATHAN ALLEN | 8/31/11 7:52 PM EDT
Sen. Jim DeMint vowed Wednesday to try to block President Barack Obama from addressing a joint session of Congress on the same day as a Republican presidential debate next week.
Obama could learn something from the GOP, DeMint reasoned, in adding his voice — and his vote — to a growing chorus of Republican objections.
“The president should pick another night. I’m planning to watch the Republican primary debate … and the president should watch it, too.”
The iconic South Carolina conservative said. “If he has a jobs proposal, put it in writing, give us a cost estimate, and send it over. I want to read the bill, not listen to talking points off a TelePrompter. If he insists on playing politics by picking the night of the GOP debate, I will object to the session.”
A lone determined senator can tie the chamber in knots for days, and the House and Senate must both pass a concurrent resolution to allow for the president to speak to a joint session.
To the surprise of Republican officials, Obama announced Wednesday that he wanted to give a jobs-focused speech to Congress on Sept. 7 — at the same time as the NBC News- and POLITICO-sponsored Republican debate in Simi Valley, Calif.
House Speaker John Boehner countered with Sept. 8 — using the fig leaf of security, logistical and procedural concerns to cover tension over the handling of the request. That date presents its own problems when it comes to the potential network television audience — it’s opening night of the NFL, with NBC broadcasting a huge game between the past two Super Bowl champions, the Saints and the Packers.
The back-and-forth between the Obama and Boehner camps quickly turned into an only-in-Washington sideshow, with each side proclaiming offense at the other’s lack of courtesy and flouting of protocol.
While Boehner’s response didn’t reject Obama’s plan outright, DeMint’s threat adds another sizable obstacle to the Sept. 7 proposal.
DeMint says Obama should pay attention to his would-be opponents.
“He will hear job creation ideas that don’t involve more wasteful stimulus spending,” DeMint said. “And he’ll hear ideas that don’t include job-destroying tax hikes.”