Sen. Bob Corker says he will vote against Senate Republican tax-reform package

Bob Corker

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., steps off the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)

The Tennessean

WASHINGTON – After days of will-he-or-won’t-he intrigue, Sen. Bob Corker said Friday he will vote against the Senate Republican plan to reform the nation’s tax system after GOP leaders failed to satisfy his demands that the package must not increase the federal deficit.

“From the beginning of this debate, I have been a cheerleader for legislation that – while allowing for current policy assumptions and reasonable dynamic scoring – would not add to the deficit and set rates that are permanent in nature,” the Tennessee Republican said in a statement released by his office.

“While I support a number of the provisions included in this legislation and continue to believe it would have been fairly easy to alter the bill in a way that would have been more fiscally sound without harming the pro-growth policies, unfortunately, it is clear that the caucus is in a different place,” Corker said.

Corker is expected to be the only Senate Republican who will vote against the plan.

“This is yet another tough vote,” he said. “I am disappointed. I wanted to get to yes. But at the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations.”

Senate Republican leaders say they have the votes needed to pass the legislation without Corker’s support. A vote is expected Friday evening.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he intends to vote for the bill.

I support the Senate tax reform bill because it is good for Tennesseans’ family incomes in two ways: First, middle-income tax cuts leave more money in the pockets of Tennesseans; Second, taking the handcuffs off job creators will grow the economy, create jobs and raise wages.

— Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) December 1, 2017

“I support the Senate tax reform bill because it is good for Tennesseans’ family incomes in two ways: First, middle-income tax cuts leave more money in the pockets of Tennesseans; Second, taking the handcuffs off job creators will grow the economy, create jobs and raise wages,” Alexander wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Corker, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, had been watched closely because was one of a handful of GOP senators who had raised questions about the tax plan.

Corker had said on multiple occasions that he would not support any tax bill that added “one penny” to the federal deficit, which he called “the greatest threat to our nation.”

But by this week, he suggested he would be open to supporting the bill as long as it included some kind of “trigger” to rescind some tax cuts or eliminate deductions if economic growth isn’t as robust as anticipated.

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