- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2017

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee on Friday announced he can’t support the Senate GOP’s $1.4 trillion-plus tax cut bill, citing concerns about looming federal deficits and the ballooning debt.

“This is yet another tough vote. I am disappointed. I wanted to get to yes,” Mr. Corker said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

Mr. Corker had been pushing for leaders to include a fiscal “trigger” in the package that would wind down some of the planned tax cuts if they didn’t generate the amount of economic growth Republicans are projecting.

But leaders instead wooed other hold-outs one-by-one with pledges to boost benefits for small businesses and partially restore a state and local property tax deduction, among other changes.

Mr. Corker said his concerns about fiscal discipline and his support for pro-growth tax reform aren’t mutually exclusive priorities.

“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,” he said.

He said he told President Trump in a phone call that he would take a “close look” at the product House and Senate negotiators come up with in a conference committee before making a decision on the final legislation.

Republican leaders can afford two defections from their 52-member conference to pass the legislation under fast-track rules, assuming no Democrats support it.

They had already won over essentially every other senator on the fence, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says they have the votes to pass the package, which was still undergoing revisions Friday.


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