If the Tea-Party-led Republicans take over one or both houses of Congress this November, we won’t just see the end of any possible action on climate change or clean energy. They may well force a government shutdown, which will close our national parks, prevent food from being inspected, and stop any government oversight of coal mines or offshore drilling “” or clean air and clean water, for that matter. Think Progress has two video interviews with the Senate’s leading government basher.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) sealed his status as the right’s standard-bearer when he brought the Senate to a virtual halt this week by threatening to hold all legislation unless it had been preapproved by his office. Though DeMint insisted that this unprecedented move was simply an effort to allow his office to read and consider pending legislation, the senator made his true intentions clear on the “Focal Point” radio program — preventing the government from functioning.
Speaking with host Bryan Fischer, DeMint argued that “this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea.” He then went on to insist that “the less we do, the better”:
FISCHER: Do you think some kind of gridlock is possible and what do you think will happen if that ensues?
DEMINT: Well I had a group of businessmen tell me the other day “if you can just stop the tax increases on us and then have two years of gridlock, that would be the best thing that could happen for business because at least we would know what to expect.” Right now they don’t know what the government is going to do to them next. So this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea. So I think the less we do, the better except maybe to dismantle some of the federal programs that are making it harder for America to be competitive.
In a recent interview, DeMint said, “I’ve been told by businesses that if we would stop the tax increases the best thing that could happen for business after that is complete gridlock.” DeMint’s comments echo similar statements from Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Steve King (R-IA), who have called for a government shutdown beginning next year.
ThinkProgress also caught up with DeMint this week to ask him about Republican obstructionism in the Senate. He conceded that although “over 90% of the bills” in the Senate receive unanimous agreement, we still ought to stop passing legislation:
DEMINT: The problem is not secret holds, it’s secretly passing bills without reading them, without debating them, and without voting on them. Over 90% of the bills that come through the Senate are never voted on, never debated, they pass by unanimous consent. I’ve never heard one person across America want more bills to pass more quickly.
The idea that Americans benefit when government reneges its responsibilities is a total fantasy, one that America has learned all too well in the past.