Politics

Trump: ‘Lightweight Senate Bob Corker’ Will ‘Fight Tax Cuts’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump slammed Sen. Bob Corker for saying he will vote against a tax reform bill that adds to the federal deficit, calling the senator a “lightweight” who is fighting “tax cuts.”

“Isn’t it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn’t get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus,” the president tweeted Tuesday.

Corker said in late September that there was “no way in hell” he was voting for a bill that produces a deficit.

Republicans are currently trying to push tax reform after their failed months-long attempts to repeal, replace and replace, and even fundamentally tweak Obamacare. The GOP has a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, which does not allow them much wiggle room to lose members of their own party.

Senators came to an agreement late Thursday evening on a budget measure that will allow Republicans to continue pushing for a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax code without fear of Democratic opposition derailing their efforts.

The Senate passed its 2018 fiscal year budget in a contentious 51-49 vote. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican senator to vote against the budget. Paul wanted more cuts to defense spending in an effort, according to the senator, to help cut down on the nation’s growing federal debt — a figure that now tops $20 trillion.

The $4 trillion budget proposal includes Senate budget reconciliation rules, which allow leadership to pass legislation with a simple majority, bypassing filibusters from Democrats altogether. Under the new budget, Republicans now only need 50 yes votes to shepherd tax reform through the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence acting as the tiebreaker.

The proposed budget would also allow Senate Republicans’ tax reform bill to add to the federal deficit over the next decade, as long as it does not exceed $1.5 trillion.

While Thursday night’s victory was a much-needed win for Senate leadership, their plan still needs to be reconciled with the House measure past in early October. If the House does not accept the Senate’s proposal, it may upend its plans to bypass regular order.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said Tuesday that “yes, we are in a good position” to pass the Senate’s budget, a budget he thinks will “accelerate tax reform.”

The House budget notably calls for tax cuts that do not add to the federal deficit, while the Senate’s bill is likely to do. House lawmakers’ version couples the tax reforms with $200 billion in spending cuts over the 10-year horizon.

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