News Column

US Sen. Corker 'Not Obligated' to Norquist Pledge

Nov. 26, 2012

Chris Carroll, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., broke with conservative orthodoxy, becoming one of a growing number of congressional Republicans willing to break a pledge to oppose tax increases.

"I'm not obligated on the pledge," Corker told "CBS This Morning" early today. "I made Tennesseans aware -- I was just elected -- that the only thing I'm honoring is the oath that I take when ... I'm sworn in this January."

Sponsored by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the antitax pledge once was popular with many congressional Republican signers, including Corker. But the former Chattanooga mayor now opposes the pledge, which bars any net reduction or elimination of credits and deductions without a corresponding tax cut.

Corker and others have recently disavowed the pledge to better avoid the "fiscal cliff," which would impose a $500 billion combination of tax increases and spending cuts if Congress doesn't act before Jan. 1.

On CBS, Corker said averting the fiscal cliff is a "very easy thing to do technically" assuming "there are two parties that are willing to solve this problem."

On Sunday, Corker in the Washington Post introduced his own "fiscal cliff" plan that avoids sequestration in part by capping federal deductions at $50,000. The Corker plan does not raise tax rates, but "includes comprehensive Medicare reform that keeps in place fee-for-service Medicare without capping growth, competing side by side with private options that seniors can choose instead if they wish."

Source: (c)2012 Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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