It was just a couple of weeks after congressional Republicans passed their regressive tax plan that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) started expressing some regret. The Floridian conceded that he and his party “probably went too far” in delivering massive tax breaks to big corporations, adding at the time that the GOP package “isn’t going to create dramatic economic growth.”
Evidently, Rubio isn’t the only one who isn’t sure he did the right thing.
GOP Sen. Bob Corker is having second thoughts about his vote on the new tax reform law, now that there’s a clearer price tag for the bill.
During a Senate Budget Committee hearing with the Congressional Budget Office, Corker bemoaned the large amount of new federal debt that is projected to pile up due to the new law.
“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 certain level, Corker’s regret is understandable. The retiring Tennessee Republican claims to take fiscal responsibility seriously, so it stands to reason that he’ll feel some alarm about this week’s CBO report and its findings. After all, there’s fresh evidence that the Republican policy will undermine the nation’s finances for at least the next decade.
What’s less understandable is why Corker turned a blind eye to the evidence before casting “one of the worst votes” of his career.
Let’s not forget that at the start of the debate over the GOP tax cuts, the Tennessee Republican told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “If it looks like to me, Chuck, we’re adding one penny to the deficit, I am not going to be for it, okay? I’m sorry. It is the greatest threat to our nation.”
For a while, Corker honored that commitment. Confronted with independent estimates that his party’s tax plan would add over $1 trillion to future deficits over the next decade, Corker was the only Republican senator to balk when the plan originally reached the Senate floor for a vote.
On Dec. 14, as the process moved forward, the Tennessean stuck to his guns, honored his principles, and said his deficit concerns “certainly have not been addressed.”
And then on Dec. 15, after his colleagues ignored his concerns, Corker announced his support for the package, putting aside every commitment he’d made throughout the debate, and rejecting the evidence from the Joint Committee on Taxation that the plan would blow up the debt.
“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 yesterday. What’s less clear is why the GOP senator is surprised that all of the evidence from last year turned out to be correct.
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