Tags: bob corker | congress | budget | military | CHIMPS

Sen. Bob Corker Puts Brakes to GOP Budget Deal

Image: Sen. Bob Corker Puts Brakes to GOP Budget Deal
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 06:55 AM

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is holding up a House-Senate budget deal still-in-the-making, Politico reported.

Aiming at a balanced budget by 2024, the deal would reduce domestic spending, while not imposing cuts on entitlements. Instead, it would focus Republican opposition on Obamacare, even as it boosts the defense budget by some $40 billion, The Washington Post reported.

Corker has not said publicly what his objections to the deal are, though several possibilities have been raised, Politico reported.

The Foreign Relations Committee chairman may want guarantees from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Republican leadership will not allow the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, unanimously approved by the committee with bipartisan support, to be torpedoed by GOP amendments intended to make floor passage impossible.

He is also known to oppose hiking the Pentagon's budget by channeling money from the Overseas Contingency Operations fund meant to cover extra costs incurred in the continuing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Corker has referred to the account as a "slush fund," Politico reported.

As a deficit hawk, Corker may also be aiming to stop CHIMPS, a budgetary practice of moving monies from mandatory programs to discretionary spending.

Congressional budget makers refer to the shift as "savings," freeing up cash for discretionary spending. Ultimately, however, budget hawks point out, the mandatory programs have to be paid for. Proponents of CHIMPS argue that they would otherwise have to cut an additional $20 billion from domestic programs, Politico reported.

The GOP leadership is not interested in a head-on confrontation over popular entitlement programs such as Medicare, while defense hawks want more money for the Pentagon.

With six Senate Republicans facing re-election in swing states in 2016, Republican leaders want a budget that is popular with most members even if budget hawks, including Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, will be unhappy. Labrador recently told a conservative gathering that maybe Republicans should tell the American people "we in Congress are incapable of keeping our promises," Politico reported.

"Right now, I think we've got to look at what's possible when you have an Obama presidency — what can you get done?" said Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, according to Politico.

"They took the easy route; not the one that would actually help put the budget back on track," said Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Politico reported.

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Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is holding up a House-Senate budget deal still-in-the-making and rumors are flying as to why, Politico reported.
bob corker, congress, budget, military, CHIMPS
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2015-55-28
Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 06:55 AM
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