October 15th, 2013
09:51 AM ET
6 months ago

Corker: 'We've spent all this time on a rabbit trail'

(CNN) - As the Senate veers on the edge of a deal to end the partial government shutdown, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, said lawmakers have made progress but criticized his own party for having "wasted two months" trying change the health care law using must-pass spending legislation.

"To be candid, it's an embarrassment to me that we have spent all this time on a rabbit trail, leading us to where we are," he said on CNN's "New Day."

Corker has been one of about a dozen Republican and Democratic senators working to craft a deal that will reopen the government, and raise the amount the government allows itself to borrow just two days before the debt ceiling deadline.

"The fact is we've got to figure out a way to move ahead," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday. "In fairness, on our side of the aisle, we've wasted two months, focused on something that was never going to happen."

“I won't say that I did,” he continued. “But a number of folks did, and what we could have been doing all this time is focused on those mandatory changes that all of us know our country needs. And we've blown that opportunity, I hate to say it.”

While they've made progress, Corker cautioned against celebrating just yet.

"But, look, there's a lot of work that's going to be done over the next two or three days. I don't think it's time to spike the football in the end zone yet," he said.

Beat the clock: Reid cites 'tremendous progress' in debt ceiling talks

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, said the Senate has been more effective than the Republican-controlled House in dealing with the budget and debit issues.

"I think it's going pretty well, and I think it's kind of like - not to criticize anyone, but the adults have taken over," she said on "New Day."

If the Senate passes a deal Tuesday, it then goes back to the House, where it's still questionable whether or not the bill would have a future.

"We want to see what they come out with," Rep. Steve Scalise said on "New Day." "Again, there were two different plans we heard were going to pass over the weekend and neither did. We learned whatever we hear the Senate might be getting ready to do, many times they end up doing something different."

Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which was instrumental in getting Obamacare measures chained to a number of spending bills that passed the House.

The Democratic-led Senate, however, said it would refuse to take up any measures that tried to change the president's signature health care law. The stalemate resulted in the partial government shutdown that went into effect October 1.

Scalise told CNN's Kate Bolduan he hopes the president will "finally agree to start negotiating to get long-term solutions so we don't have a crisis-to-crisis moment." He added, however, "we'll get it done before the clock runs out."

CNN later learned House Republicans will offer their own plan on Tuesday to temporarily reopen the government and raise the federal debt ceiling while also making changes to Obamacare.

Sen. Mark Pryor, who also appeared on "New Day," said he expects the Senate to reach a deal Tuesday and hopes it will have a strong bipartisan vote, so that it puts more pressure on the House to pass it.

"One of the goals we really set out within our group, look, we don't want 60 votes. We want to get 70, 75, 80 votes on this if we possibly can. We think that really puts pressure on the House to get this passed," the Democrat from Arkansas said.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    "CNN later learned House Republicans will offer their own plan on Tuesday to temporarily reopen the government and raise the federal debt ceiling while also making changes to Obamacare."

    So: tell me again why anyone is optimistic about a deal. Clearly, the "tea party" cabal in the House is committed to rebellion.

    October 15, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    So the house now has a new plan to open government by making changes to Obamacare. All republicans in congress should be tried for treason.

    October 15, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Larry NY

    "CNN later learned House Republicans will offer their own plan on Tuesday to temporarily reopen the government and raise the federal debt ceiling while also making changes to Obamacare."

    Wow!! So Let me ask, why are we not paying our bills on the money spent already on stupid wars, becasue we want to make changes to Obamcare? We sure have confused the whole world on this one for sure...

    October 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Michael

    Maybe they should have a vote to defund the ACA – you know for old times sake

    October 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. S. B. Stein

    If the House GOP had realized that any measure that they passed would have to go through the Senate and understood what that meant, then there would be a better chance of getting things done. That also means that their pride and blinders as to what goes on needed to taken off. I just don't think that is going to happen soon enough.

    October 15, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    After taking Obamacare off the table, the Tea Party has refocused on spending, and pushed for deeper cuts than what they passed in their original bill. Democrats have now pushed back asking for a higher spending than what the Senate had originally passed. The Tea Party accusses the Democrats of moving the bar, and are publicly demanding sequesterred spending levels should be set and continued moving forward.

    Well, sequestered spending levels is exactly what the Senate had passed in a 'clean' bill just prior to the shutdown. Here we are, two weeks later, and the Republicans are demanding that the Senate pass a bill with sequestered spending levels. Such a bill has been sitting on Spkr. Boehner's desk for over two weeks now.

    October 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I hate to tell you that the Democrats told you so, Senator, but the Democrats told you so.

    October 15, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. the hippies were right

    Hey CNN, where's your coverage of Pete Sessions rewriting the house voting rules prior to the shutdown giving Cantor voting authority????????

    October 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    Do not negotiate. This shut down is not new. Let it continue. No strings attached to OBAMACARE. PERIOD.

    October 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Data Driven

    @hippies,

    Excellent question. It's been in the news for a week, but you wouldn't know it if you only watched or read CNN. This attempt at a coup d'etat was planned and legislatively constructed.

    How about an article on the September 30 rule change, CNN?

    October 15, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    Except for his outburst about Obama not strutting around like George W. during the Syria "thing", Corker seems to be a Reasonable Repub.

    October 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Wake up People!

    Sniffit, Data Driven, and the Real Tom Paine........

    You guys know a lot more about this than I do so I'd like to ask you a question if you don't mind......

    If all negotiations fail does the POTUS have any Executive Powers that might allow us to move forward???

    Thanks in advance for your answers guys.

    October 15, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    Corker will now be labelled a RINO for not speaking of the Democrats as evil ogres that are determined to ruin everything amurkin. Expect to be primaried there Bob. You've been officially warned. The ruling faction will not tolerate dissent

    October 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. cumulus

    Run the article on the September 30 rule change so we can all see who's playing games, liberal media my arse

    October 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. rs

    The interesting element here is that the GOP has only two paths at this point:
    1. Destroy the TEA Party and eat crow, ultimately raising the Debt. Limit and (very narrowly) avoiding default (but probably causing $billions of wasted tax dollars in the process).
    or
    2. Allowing the TEA Party bafoons to take down the GOP and the U.S. economy, and perhaps the world's because of their hyper-Right ideology and anti-Americanism.

    Either way the GOP is through. They will not resemble to GOP of old and will be in an electoral wilderness for years if not decades to come.

    October 15, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. teaparty days are numbered

    Stupid GOP/TP Tricks, a new Letterman comedy segment.

    October 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Wake up People!

    Sniffit, Data Driven, and the Real Tom Paine........

    You guys know a lot more about this than I do so I'd like to ask you a question if you don't mind......

    If all negotiations fail does the POTUS have any Executive Powers that might allow us to move forward???

    Thanks in advance for your answers guys
    *************************
    Nothing that I can think of that would not have the GOP screaming about dictatorship anymore than they already are: btw, you give me way too much credit. I suppose he could issue executive orders, but the political fallout would be huge. In an effort to respect what is left of our process, I doubt he would take executive action, so I think the legislative game of chicken will continue until someone blinks.

    October 15, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. cumulus

    Pres could invoke article 14, but its controversial, and would only cause further divide, thanks for caring.

    October 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. wendel

    the tea party needs to shut up. Take a vote Mr. Orangeman! Or do you have no balls at all? Congress is one big joke and needs to be voted out!

    October 15, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Data Driven

    @Wake Up,

    Sniffit, who is a lawyer I think, doubtless knows more, but realistically, the Fourth Section of the Fourteenth Amendment doesn't really allow the President to unilaterally handle financial matters. Like everything else in our Founding Document, the details are hilariously vague.

    That said, if someone actually tried to stop Obama from paying our bills, that litigant would have to somehow claim a legitimate injury. I don't think the Supreme Court would even take up such a case. We will discover anew that we actually live in an elective monarchy, though in this particular situation it would manifest itself benignly. My two cents.

    October 15, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    “I won't say that I did,” he continued. “But a number of folks did, and what we could have been doing all this time is focused on those mandatory changes that all of us know our country needs. And we've blown that opportunity, I hate to say it.”
    -------------------------------------------------"I won't say that I did...".
    We have reached the part of the program where they start wiping the poo off themselves and onto each other.

    I too am waiting for the answer on what options if any the President might have to resolve this via perhaps an executive order. I cannot imagine that the oft-quoted Founding Fathers didn't forsee some in government going completely off the reservation and bringing "government for the people and by the people" to a screeching, petulant, power and greed-driven halt.

    October 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Wake up People!

    Thanks Tom. And don't sell yourself so short. You've been very informative.

    October 15, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. ED1

    The House was re-elected to stop all the out of control spending like the Obamacare bill. Why don't you just take $400 million give it to the people that need health care and save 1.76 trillion.

    The bill that was passed put us deeper in debt at a time we couldn't afford but because Obama wanted it and lied about what it would cost and you could keep your own Doctors his words not Fox or even CNN we just can't afford this crap.

    October 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pres could invoke article 14, but its controversial, and would only cause further divide, thanks for caring.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'd seen this bandied about when the shutdown first occurred. Folks were saying,as you are, that it would only serve to further add to unfounded accusations of dictatorship etc.
    I for one believe that the republic must be saved by any means at our disposal. And if the House continues on its' current trajectory and no agreement is forseeable to stall a default, and the inevitable crash to our economy then the President has a DUTY to act to prevent said outcome for the common good of the country.

    October 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake up People!

    Thanks Tom. And don't sell yourself so short. You've been very informative.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I second that, and would like to include Mallory Archer, rs, and of course Rudy NYC to your list Wake up if I may.

    October 15, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |