They calling it the Corker kickback, and it’s difficult for any fair-minded American to come up with any other explanation for the retiring Tennessee Senator’s abrupt change of heart on his party’s tax scam (#CorkerKickback)
The majority of Americans who are opposed to the Republican tax giveaway to the wealthy heaved a collective sigh of relief when Senator Bob Corker initially announced that he would oppose the inequitable and fiscally irresponsible legislation that Trump and Republican leadership are trying to ram down the country’s throats in record time with little debate. It gave them hope that, with one “no” vote promised, they could lobby two more maverick Senators to doom the ill-begotten plan.
This week we mere plebians were forced to face a grim new reality after Senator Corker and other Republicans still on the fence about the bill were bought off with individually tailored promises to bring them around to supporting the legislation.
Despite the fact that the bill will still add around $1.5 trillion to the U.S. debt level, Corker, who had promised that he would not vote for a tax plan that raised the debt, caved in and pledged to join the rest of his Republican colleagues in mortgaging America’s future.
The move left observers wondering what had moved Corker to change his stance.
Now, the International Business Times (IBT) has published a revealing article that provides some substantial insight into Corker’s motivations, and it’s not a flattering portrait of the Senator and his principles.
According to IBT, Corker switched his vote to yes only after a last-minute addition to the bill included a provision that would personally benefit the Senator who has a commercial real estate empire that has earned him around $7 million in the last year alone. The provision, which lowers the rate on “pass-through” income generated by real estate LLC’s, also will give a huge tax break to President Trump and his family.
— TN Democratic Party (@tndp) December 17, 2017
After IBT reported that Corker’s vote had changed based on this sweetheart provision, the Senator called the magazine to deny even knowing about its inclusion in the bill. In an embarrassing series of calls between Corker and IBT, the Senator:
“asked IBT for a description of the provision, and then criticized it. But minutes later, he called back to walk back that criticism, saying he wanted to further study the issue, and that it was more complex than he initially understood it to be. Despite potentially holding the fate of the entire tax bill in his hands, Corker told IBT that he has only read a short summary of the $1.4 trillion legislation.”
Wow, the financial future of the country is at stake and the Senator has changed his mind about a bill that he hasn’t even read in full. What did Corker base his decision on if he hadn’t read the bill?
“I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership,” said Corker. “I never saw the actual text.” Despite not reading the bill — and having time to read it before the final vote scheduled for this week — he reiterated his support for the bill to IBT, support he announced hours before bill’s full text was publicly released on Friday.”
It would be interesting to know what happened behind the scenes between Corker’s first call to the magazine, where he said about the provision in question:
“If I understand what [the provision] does, it sounds totally unnecessary and borderline ridiculous,”
and the second call, when he walked back his initial assessment of the provision by saying:
“I don’t really know what the provision does to be honest. I would need an accountant to explain it,” Corker said. “I had no knowledge of this and would have no knowledge of it except for you guys are calling me about it. I have no idea whatsoever whether it impacts me or doesn’t impact me.”
Whether you believe Senator Corkers claimed ignorance of the bill’s provisions and how it affects him or not, you may not exactly feel comfortable with the notion that any Senator would vote for a bill that they haven’t read and don’t understand.
Corker looks bad either way, just like this horrific tax bill, which he was right about the first time when he was the only Republican Senator to vote against it.
The fact that this controversial bill is being railroaded through Congress with hardly any bi-partisan debate on the merits of provisions that were added in the last few days, provisions primarily written by and benefiting the interests of corporate lobbyists rather than the general population, makes this whole tax “reform” process a national embarrassment and shame.
Bob Corker had the chance to be a principled hero. Now, he’ll be retiring from Congress with a lovely parting gift at which he feigns surprise. Perhaps you should call his office and tell him what you think of that. Tell him the International Business Times sent you.