GOP senator demands tax reform be permanent, reduce deficit

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Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Corker pressed as reelection challenges mount MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring after next year, raised the stakes on what he expects from the nascent GOP tax-reform plan Wednesday, saying he would not vote for a plan that was temporary or raised the deficit.

Speaking at the Senate Budget Committee’s markup of the budget, which will unlock the process Republicans want to use to pass the reform, Corker said he would not vote for a final bill unless it ”reduces deficits and does not add to deficits with reasonable and responsible growth models. And unless we can make it permanent, I don’t have any interest in it.”

The Foreign Relations Committee chairman had also set a previous red line, saying he would not vote for deficit-increasing reform.

Corker, who announced last month that he was not running for reelection in 2018, excoriated the budget process during the committee meeting, saying it was a waste of time.

“This is some of the most meaningless work that we do here,” Corker said, complaining that the budget resolution was, in effect, no more than a shell to promote tax reform.

The budget’s reconciliation process will let Republicans avoid a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

Corker said he hoped the plan could pass with bipartisan support.

Corker had agreed to allow a $1.5 trillion deficit provision into the budget resolution in order to allow the process to move forward.

That figure helps the Senate steer clear of complex budget rules that could tangle up the process. But it also does not take into account dynamic scoring, which includes the effects of economic growth on revenues.

Corker has said that he would agree to a plan that static scores say increases the deficit if a reasonable dynamic score finds that growth would lead to enough new revenues to cover it. 

The current tax outline is estimated to include roughly $4 trillion in cuts, but Republicans are searching for at least $2.5 trillion in revenues from closing loopholes and eliminating deductions to hit the maximum $1.5 trillion deficit allowed in the budget.

Under reconciliation, however, deficit-producing policies expire after 10 years.  

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