Corker, Boehner take different tones on chance of grand bargain
March 17th, 2013
02:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Corker, Boehner take different tones on chance of grand bargain

(CNN) - Sen. Bob Corker on Sunday joined a few other Senate Republicans who say they're open to raising revenues as part of a deal on deficit reduction, adding there is a chance such an agreement could work.

House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, continued to maintain that increased tax revenue would not be part of the deficit reduction picture and sounded less hopeful on the idea of a "grand bargain."

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Corker said he could only see Republicans compromising on tax revenue if Democrats agree to big changes in entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare.

"I think Republicans, if they saw true entitlement reform, would be glad to look at tax reform that generates additional revenue. And that doesn't mean increasing rates. That means closing loopholes," the Tennessee Republican said on "Fox News Sunday."

As Washington grappled with how to lessen the impact of the forced spending cuts that went into place March 1, Republicans staunchly opposed the idea of bringing in more revenue, saying the real problem was on the spending side of the equation.

Some Republicans in the Senate, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, said they would be open to the idea of closing certain loopholes if it helped lessen the impact of the cuts on the military.

Both parties released their budgets last week. The House Republican budget reduces the deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years through spending reductions, while the Senate Democrats' budget proposes a $1.8 trillion deficit-reduction package, which includes a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.

Corker said Republicans want to see tax reform and a "75-year solution to entitlements." But, he argued, it all depends on how much Democrats are willing to shake up entitlement spending.

The senator is one of several Republicans who have been in touch with President Barack Obama during his recent outreach to Republicans. Obama visited Republicans on Capitol Hill last week and dined with 12 Republican senators, including Corker, the week before in order to discuss deficit reduction.

"I think, there, by the way, is a chance on a deal," Corker said. "I know the president is saying the right things, and we have an opportunity over the next four to five months."

Obama has said he's willing to propose changes on entitlements. But getting Democrats in Congress to agree with him may be an uphill battle.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, however, said on Fox he believes Corker stated "a basic set of principles that both parties can rally around" and acknowledged that entitlement reform should be on the table.

"But there are ways to approach it - to reduce the cost of medical care, and still keep our promise to seniors across America," he said.

While Corker appeared open to tax increases down the road, Boehner said the conversation about tax revenue is finished. He said he was unsure whether a grand bargain could ever be reached.

"I don't know whether we can come to a big agreement. If we do, it'll be between the two parties on Capitol Hill," he said on ABC's "This Week." "The president got his tax hikes on January 1. The talk about raising revenue is over. It's time to deal with the spending problem."

He was referring to the tax rate increase for top earners that was included in the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff earlier this year.

Boehner has appeared somewhat skeptical of the president's recent "charm offensive" to Republican lawmakers in Congress and hasn't been shy in acknowledging the stark differences between the two parties. He said Sunday that while "it's always a good thing to engage in more conversation," the bottom line is the president favors "more taxes from the American people."

"We're not going to get very far," he said.
Asked if he trusts the president, Boehner said, "Absolutely."

"Oh, the president and I, as I have made very clear, have a very good relationship. We're open with each other, we're honest with each other, but we're trying to bridge some big differences," he said.

Filed under: Bob Corker • Debt • Deficit • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Rick

    Companies like Bank of America and Verizon pay zero dollars in taxes because of those tax loop-holes that the democrats are trying to get republicans to close, but (plain and simple if everyone paid their fair share we would not have this deficit, we would not have to cut programs, we would not of had the sequester in the first place. It would be just like when Bill Clinton, a democrat, was president.)

    Life was good for everyone back in the Clinton days, and it could be good again. Programs like Social Security are just too important to cut. These programs take away jobs from many Americans’, and it doesn’t need to be like this. Taking away jobs so some corporate jet owner can save some money is ridicules. Look at how these companies are getting away with not paying taxes. They’re transferring, or not really transferring money, to the Cayman Islands that goes in, or doesn’t go in to a PO Box. And these companies don’t even reside there. It’s all on paper and if they and only if they bring back the money to the USA that never left the USA they will pay taxes on that money. It is one of the most baffling tax-loop-holes out there, and republicans don’t want to close it. They’d, the republicans, rather let people lose their jobs, and I just can’t understand it. Can you? Don’t believe it, research this loop-hole for yourself.

    1. Bank of America took $336 billion in bailouts in 2009, but in 2010, flush with $4.4 billion in profits, it paid no taxes. Even Forbes magazine asked, how is that possible? Probably thanks to their 115 offshore tax havens.
    2. Boeing just received $35 billion from our government to build 179 airborne tankers, but despite nearly $10 billion in profits from 2008 to 2010, it too paid no taxes, again thanks to foreign tax havens.
    3. Citicorp took $476 billion from the bailout and then made monster profits in 2010, yet it paid no taxes, thanks to 427 subsidiaries in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong.
    4. Exxon/Mobil, received huge oil subsidies from the government and earned $45 billion in 2009 but paid no taxes, again thanks to stashing profits in places like the Bahamas and Singapore.
    5. GE – see last week’s column for the stats and facts on this corporation’s tax dodge.
    6. Google utilizes a technique that moves most of its income through Ireland and Netherlands to Bermuda, making its tax rate 2.3 percent.
    7. Mega Pharmaceuticals Merck earned $9 billion in profits and paid no taxes in 2010, while Pfizer (largest drug maker) owed $10 billion in taxes but found the necessary loopholes to pay no taxes, thanks to its offshore subsidiaries in places like Luxembourg and the Isle of Jersey.
    8. News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s media monolith that owns Fox News avoids paying American taxes through its 152 subsidiaries in tax havens from the British Virgin Islands to Hong Kong.
    9. Verizon, despite making $24.2 billion in pre-tax US income, paid no taxes and actually claimed a federal refund of $1.3 billion for the last two years, again all thanks to those offshore subsidiaries.
    10. Wells Fargo, the fourth largest bank in the US, which took $107 billion in bailouts, wrote off all its losses by acquiring Wachovia, thus paying no taxes. Yet its CEO earned $5.6 million in cash for his salary and $13 million in stock.

    March 17, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. Mike Texoma

    It only takes Corker and a few others to pass a balanced bill in the Senate. I notice there was no comment from McConnell, so I think he's got company.. If Corker could get a total of 12 Republicans to sign on in the Senate, Boehner would sweat bullets because that bill would stand a good chance of passage in the House. Keep working, Mr. President!

    March 17, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Danial Farooq

    Speaker Boehner for a change did show some courage to speak his mind and the truth that : " Debt crisis not " immediate,’ but ‘looming " . Speaker knew this for a while . Rather for more than tow years ! Why he neglected to take charge for revival of U. S. economy on a bipartisan basis ? The Congress does not need to be reminded , not to miss opportunities for rebuilding crumbling infrastructures , roads , bridges , national electric grids and broad communication grids etc . in these United States . The GOP in Congress is far out of touch , with huge economic problems of 23 million unemployed and under employed , 49 million under poverty line , and middle class folks adversely affected by worst economic recession in decades . The economy with weak economic growth rate and 7.7 percent unemployment rate , urgently needs economic growth policy measures , by targeted fiscal policy , tax codes and regulatory reforms etc . , needed for new business investments . The job creations programs needs huge investments , and Congress should consider advantages' of bipartisanship for now . That would mean unity of purpose for America .

    March 17, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. CAWinMD

    The only way we get to a big deal on this is to have the Senate approve something with bipartisan support, and then basically send it to the House and get it passed with a majority of Democratic votes, assuming Boehner would let it come to a vote. There's a working majority for a big deal in the House, but that majority is made up of a majority of Democrats.

    Boehner can say all he wants that revenues are off the table, but what he's really saying is that he doesn't want to fix this problem. As Ryan's budget amply shows, you can't get to balance without extra revenue, because there's no way on God's green earth that Obama is going to sign off on getting rid of the ACA. Gotta make that up somewhere...

    March 17, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. geggyg

    @ rick McDaniel
    If Pres Obama has squandered all the revenue the govt has received how come the deficit has reduced from $1.4 trillion when he took over to an estimated $900billion this year , or should he have balanced the budget by now as well as paid off all the govt debt as well including from past Presidents. This is with tax revenues at historical lows, and revenue at near historical lows as a percentage of GDP ( thanks largely to the GFC and financial crisis) revenue is slowly recovering as a percentage of GDP to a normal range of 18-20% instead of the roughly 15% that Obama inherited ( the GDP was actually shrinking when Obama took over )

    March 17, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. king

    lesson folks the government is spending the least money on discretionary spending in history. no other presdent have to deal with a discretion spending as low as this. the entitlements are pushing the budget deficit, and i have to agree with the repubs on this one, we have to take care of the next generations. but we are also have the lowest taxes in 70 years and the repubs have to compromise on this too. we cannot have mainstreet to shoulder all the budget reduction as the rich get richer. we need to have shared sacrifices, and this is what the president have been asking for the past 3 years, and the repubs refuse to budge, and at the same time hollering about our debt crisis. i can never understand their logic. if you so concerned about budget deficit well help the president and stop blocking every thing he tries to do to get this country better. because your obstructionism is getting old, and even the gullible will find you out soon.

    March 17, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Larry L

    @Rick McDaniel

    There is no justification, whatsoever for more revenue. It will simply be squandered by Obama, just like all of the money he has already squandered.
    By "squandered" you must be refering to the money spent trying to bail America out of the worst economic situation since the Great Depression. You might remember how it started... two un-funded wars, tax breaks for all, and a blind eye to Wall Street. Don't even bother trying to mention "Obamacare" – the Republican idea used successfully by Romney and only hated by conservatives when the President introduced it in lieu of a healthcare crisis that was breaking America. The "job creators" WHO ENJOY THE TAX BREAKS JUST SIT ON THE MONEY – MOST OF IT OFFSHORE.

    March 17, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be some level of compromise. If that doesn't happen, then none of the business of the American people can get done.

    March 17, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  9. Mr. B

    The president and U.S. congress should work together as on a U.S # 1 TEAM to agree on good common ground, and do *whats* Right, Fair and the Best for us as one nation. For we all are in the SAME BOAT. SO WHERE ARE WE GOING WITH *THIS POLI KICKING POLITICS* among one another? So lets all get busy on the REAL BUSINESS HERE IN US. SO BE MONEY SMART on the issues that we are facing as a nation. Time is ticking on, and do not wait. WE GOT TO REDISCOVERED AMERICA FOR ALL, AND NOT JUST FOR SOME. LETS STAY IN GOD FOOT STEPS and do *whats best*for our country. Amen!

    March 17, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
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