Key GOP senator says he wants to take half the Republican tax bill ‘directly to the incinerator’

  • Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said Tuesday that he wants to take the individual side of the GOP tax bill and “throw it in the trash can.”
  • Corker also raised concerns about the potential effects of the bill on the federal deficit.

Sen. Bob Corker on Tuesday suggested he’s not happy with a massive part of the GOP tax bill.

The Tennessee Republican has repeatedly raised concerns about its potential effects on the national deficit and debt. And on Tuesday, Corker told CNBC that he dislikes the changes to the individual side of tax rates.

“You talk about swallowing something, if we could take the entire individual side of this, throw it in the trash can and take it directly to the incinerator. I would be thrilled if we were only talking about the business side,” Corker said.

Corker did say, however, that he would stomach the individual side because of the proposed cuts to corporate taxes.

“I’m willing to swallow the individual side, which to me is not what it needs to be, to get the business side as long as we’re not increasing deficits,” he said.

Since the start of the tax reform push, Corker has expressed qualms about its potential effect on the deficit and repeatedly asked that GOP leaders and the Treasury Department show that economic growth from the bill would make up for a shortfall in tax revenue.

The senator told reporters Monday that he met with Treasury officials, but that the Treasury had not developed an analysis showing the revenue loss would be made up through growth. Nearly all independent analyses project that the tax legislation, even with growth, would add more than $US1 trillion in debt over 10 years.

Corker has floated including include a trigger in the tax plan that would reverse some cuts if the federal deficit rose to a certain level. Other Republicans, like Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, also favour this approach.

Corker said the trigger would raise taxes on both corporations and individuals if the legislation did not produce economic growth.

But dangling the possibility of a tax increase could complicate long-term investment plans from both households and corporations. Corker said he was trying to find a way to make the trigger “not anti-pro-growth.”

Corker is a member of the Senate Budget Committee, which is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon.