Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) recently announced his retirement and there are times when he says things that may lead you to believe that Senate Republicans won't find enough votes to pass their tax cuts for the rich, but there are other times when Corker says and does things that may make you doubt his authenticity.
For example, Corker has said multiple times that he will not vote for tax cuts that add to the federal deficit, but he voted for the Senate's deficit-busted budget proposal for fiscal 2018.
He voted for the fiscal 2018 proposal even though he blasted it as a "hoax."
CORKER: "This whole budget, it’s a ruse. This is the biggest hoax passed upon the American people ever, that this budget process even exists. The only thing about this that matters is preparation for tax reform, moving beyond the parliamentary issues that we have to deal with on the Senate side. But other than that, these amendment votes, they’re all—everything about this is a hoax. It’s a hoax. It has no impact on anything whatsoever affecting the American people . . . If I were chairman of the Budget Committee, I would disband it. Unless we create a real budget process, which this is not, our country’s fiscal situation is going to continue to go down the tube. And we have no mechanism to control real spending, 70 percent of which is mandatory, which is not even covered by this, y’all understand that, so this is a hoax. And we’ll go ahead and we’ll spend a bunch of time tonight—the only thing that’s going to come out of this that matters is we’re going to prepare for tax reform.”
It's unfortunate that Corker voted for the budget proposal because he's absolutely, 100 percent right about it. He's more right than he may even realize.
As I discussed at some length yesterday, the budget proposal is a non-binding piece of paper; a procedural maneuver that will allow Republicans to use the reconciliation process to move a tax cut bill with a simple majority and probably no hearings or amendments.
But Corker hinted at something much bigger than this tax cut bill Congressional Republicans are considering.
Corker says this is not a "real budget process" and that they have "no mechanism to control real spending" because the Republican party has not completed the appropriations process in many years. When I point out that fiscal 2017, 2016, and 2015 (and probably 2018) have been nearly identical, that's not just a quip. And you can go back even further than that.
It may seems like they've done a lot because Republicans have passed a lot of bills that were never signed into law, but the truth is they've done virtually nothing since 2011 when they first took control of the House of Representatives.
Bob Corker calls their budget proposal a "hoax" because it's the same proposal they've been passing since 2011. It's the same process, or a lack thereof, they've adhered to since long before Trump even announced his candidacy. Republicans have treated their budget proposals as more of a wish-list than an actual governing document, but then they refuse to govern when they don't get everything that's on their wish-list.
As Corker alluded to, there isn't a single Republican in Washington who believes they're going to decimate Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for the rich, but that's in their proposal because the real goal is to open a procedural window to pass deficit-financed tax cuts.
In so many words, what Corker is saying is the Republican party cannot and will not govern.
He should have voted against it.