After months of quiet promotion, Sen. Bob Corker revealed portions of a legislative package geared at comprehensive fiscal reform Monday.
Penning a Washington Post editorial, Corker said he saw the so-called, impending “fiscal cliff” as Congress’ “best opportunity to finally enact meaningful fiscal reform,” instead of opting for a shorter-term fix.
“We have had two dry runs over the past two years,” Corker wrote. “No Congress is better suited to address these issues than this one. It is our responsibility to solve these problems now. Kicking the can down the road-setting up a process for token deficit reduction today with the promise of more reforms later-is misguided and irresponsible and shows a total lack of courage.”
Without directly linking to a copy of his 242-page bill, Corker said the plan would produce $4.5 trillion in fiscal reforms, raise $1 trillion in new revenues and replace the sequestration set to go into effect at year’s end.
Rather than raise tax rates, the bill would increase revenues by capping federal deductions at $50,000.
“While I know this bill can be improved, it shows clearly that we can do what is necessary, today, with relatively simple legislation,” he wrote.
Corker also said his plan would mandate “common-sense” reforms to the federal workforce and implement a chained consumer price index to more accurately chart inflation. Additionally, the bill would include provisions allowing seniors on Medicare to choose private options and would increase premiums “ever so slightly” for recipients making more than $50,000 a year in retirement.
The senator’s public discussion of the plan comes two weeks after he abruptly announced that timing wasn’t appropriate, instead suggesting Congress put its “collective energy” into supporting ongoing negations between U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama. On Monday, Corker wrote that his plan had been shared with both House and Senate leaders, along with the White House.
The senator and his staff had been drafting the plan for the past year.
Corker also said Monday he did not feel obligated to continue adhering to a no new tax pledgeespoused by the majority of Republican lawmakers-making him the latest in a small group of GOP senators to break from Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform’s signature initiative. Appearing on “CBS This Morning,” the senator told Charlie Rose he had indicated during his recent bid for re-election that he would only hold himself accountable to his oath of service.
“I’m not obligated on the pledge,” Corker said. “I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected. The only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I serve, when I’m sworn in this January.”