Tea party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said Sunday that there was no risk of "major economic consequences" if the debt limit was not raised by Aug. 2.
"I think the president has been gaming Republicans," DeMint told Fox News' Bret Baier. "He has been talking about this for six months. The only proposal he sent us is his budget to raise the debt $10 trillion. So it's hard to take him seriously here."
"Thousands of Americans and many Republicans in Congress are uniting around the idea that we will give the president his increase in the debt limit in return for some reasonable cuts in spending this year, some caps on spending over the next ten years, his agreement to send balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, to the states for them to ratify," he added.
"Do you believe, Senator, that the country risks default or major economic consequences if the debt ceiling is not raised on August 2nd -- by August 2nd?" Baier asked.
"No, I don't," DeMint insisted. "I think [Treasury] Secretary Geithner has been irresponsible. He's playing Chicken Little here."
"We will pay the debts if it's the last dollar we have. There are enough assets in Social Security and Medicare to pay the benefits of those programs for several years. Other programs can be funded from tax revenue. There would certainly be disruption, Bret, but this is not a deadline we should rush and make a bad deal and do something that cuts benefits from seniors without giving them better choices."
Baier pressed the South Carolina Republican on House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) claim that the economy would be in "jeopardy" if the debt ceiling wasn't raised by Aug. 2.
"Well, if the president and Secretary Geithner have not planned for contingencies -- and we have sent them letters to tell them they needed to -- there would certainly be disruption. But the president is required by law to pay our debts. He is required to pay Social Security and Medicare," DeMint said.