CHATTANOOGA (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he’s developed a plan to reform taxes and balance the federal budget, but he’s not planning to release details until after the election.
He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press earlier this week that his plan will both cut entitlement spending and raise more money.
“We’ll have it ready for prime time later this year,” Corker said. “Having one piece of legislation that would put this fiscal crisis in our rear-view mirror would allow us to focus on making our country great again.”
The Chattanooga Republican said his draft of the reform proposal is done and under review for fiscal impact by the congressional budget staff.
Corker said he intends to keep his “soup to nuts” plan private until after the presidential election is settled. Corker is seeking re-election but doesn’t face a strong challenge in the Aug. 2 primary or Nov. 6 general election.
The senator said he envisions his proposal as a path to compromise after the election for Republicans who want to cut spending and Democrats who want to raise taxes.
“America is one budget deal away from regaining its pre-eminence in the world, and I’m optimistic we’re going to do that, and the first best chance to do that is after the election,” he said.
Corker criticized a $105 billion transportation bill that passed Congress last week and was regarded by some as progress in a long-running political deadlock over spending and taxes. He said the deal, which prevented an increase in student loan rates and kept money flowing for transportation projects, spent $2.5 billion more than was allowed under last year’s budget compromise between Congress and the administration of President Barack Obama.
Corker said getting control of the rising federal debt is a bigger priority than infrastructure spending.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said the two-year transportation funding deal is a good short-term achievement but more is needed.
“While I am glad Congress reached an agreement to prevent some of our major transportation projects from shutting down, we really can’t do any long-term projects with anything less than a six-year bill,” Schroer said.