Sen. Corker Opens Door to Raising Rates as Part of Fiscal Deal

Sunday, 09 Dec 2012 02:39 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee joined a small group of Republicans who believe the party should cave into raising taxes for the wealthy to resolve the looming fiscal cliff and move on.

If a deal isn’t reached by Jan. 1, taxes will rise for everyone, reports Fox. But Corker told "Fox News Sunday" that if the crisis is resolved, lawmakers can move on and start negotiating spending cuts, which will result in much more significant deficit reductions.

"There is a growing group of folks that are looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue, before year-end. I mean, we have one house, that's it," Corker said.

Corker said the idea of raising rates on the top 2 percent has “merit,” because the focus can then shift to entitlements.

“Maybe that puts us in a place where we actually can do something that really saves this nation," Corker said.

Corker acknowledged that Obama has some leverage over Republicans, but expects fellow Republicans to pick up momentum over with respect to the debt ceiling vote and next year’s expiration of the current short-term budget law.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner, however, faces pressure from conservatives not to raise rates for households that earn more than $250,000, as Obama is demanding. Boehner is already being criticized for a proposal to raise $800 billion over the next decade through deduction limits and tax-reform measures.

Some Republicans in the House, such as Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, are open to raising taxes on the top 2 percent. But Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee says she doesn’t want anyone’s taxes to go up at all.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer told "Fox News Sunday" that he believes a deal will be struck, predicting Republicans will eventually agree to let the top rate go up from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

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