DeMint’s ‘Valid Point’

by Robert Costa

Washington — Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) tells NRO that Sen. Jim DeMint is making a “valid point” in his opposition to the tax deal. “We all have mixed feelings,” he says. “We’d like to see the tax cuts made permanent.” Still, he says, there is “broad support” for the deal in the GOP caucus. He predicts that most Republicans will vote for it.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) has a similar take. He tells us that DeMint is advocating for an “economically sound policy,” but urges his colleagues to back the compromise, due to the uncertainty in the economy and the limited alternatives available.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), without pause, says that he disagrees with DeMint’s tack. He notes that even as “the most conservative member,” he is “trying to be realistic about this,” and will support the deal’s outline.

“(DeMint) has made a name for himself for being against tax increases,” Sen. Orrin Hatch adds. “I think he’s sincere.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), for the moment, has “no comment” about DeMint and says that he is still reviewing the deal’s details. His vote, he hints, may hinge on the nature of amendments potentially offered to the bill in coming days.

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