Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker announced his retirement last year and then immediately started beefing with Donald Trump. For a while, there was hope among Democrats that Corker (and his fellow retiring, Trump-hating colleague Jeff Flake) would join the #Resistance and derail Trump’s agenda, but two months later, Corker helped put the Senate over the top on the Repbulicans’ terrible tax bill, for reasons which definitely have nothing to do with the fact that Corker stands to personally benefit from the new law.
Now that the damage is done, Corker is hollering about regrets.
“If it ends up costing what has been laid out here, it could well be one of the worst votes I’ve made,” Corker said at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, after the Congressional Budget Office announced earlier this week that the deficit would pass $1 trillion. “I hope that is not the case, I hope there’s other data to assist, whether it’s jobs or growth or whatever.”
“None of us have covered ourselves in glory,” he added. “This Congress and this administration likely will go down as one of the most fiscally irresponsible administrations and congresses that we’ve had...I listen to this partisan bickering over blaming people, it’s ridiculous. We are absolutely not capable of dealing with our country’s finances, and, of course, a big part of it is the American people don’t really want it to be controlled.”
Usually, politicians wait at least a couple of years before talking about votes they wish they could take back, but Corker is just going right for it less than four months after he cast a crucial vote to get the law passed. What’s more astonishing is that Corker is pretending that this is some sort of surprise; the CBO said in early December, two weeks before Corker cast his vote, that the bill would increase the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next ten years.
“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,” Corker said in a statement on December 1st before he cast his ballot against the bill on its first vote in the Senate.
And then, two weeks later, when he voted for the final version: “In the end, after 11 years in the Senate, I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation. I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our country’s enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make.”
Don’t buy Corker’s attempt to reinvent himself before he leaves the Senate, writes a book called Fighting for Leadership: An American Path Forward to Take Back America, and ponders running against Trump before he realizes he’s going to get twelve votes in South Carolina. Corker knew that the bill was going to significantly increase the deficit and voted for it anyway, because the tax cuts were more important. Anything else is pure fiction.