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Sen. Corker predicts positive changes coming from Washington

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After 4-1/2 years Ive learned you should never say no to spending cuts in Washington, he said.


The cuts made on Aug. 2 Corker described as low-hanging fruit and said they were the easiest places to make cuts, but noted to really make a difference, Congress needs to remain disciplined and cut elsewhere besides discretionary spending.


He pointed out that discretionary spending is not the major part of government spending. Programs that are on auto-pilot, as Corker said, make up most of the federal governments spending, including Social Security and Medicare.


Our deficits are greater than all discretionary spending, he said.


Corker noted the average American family makes $43,000 a year and pays into Medicare on average $109,000 over a lifetime. However, he also pointed out that the average family takes $343,000 out of Medicare in a lifetime.


The math just doesnt work, he said. Social Security can easily be fixed, Medicare however, is much more difficult.


Corker told the club he lobbied heavily to be one of the Republican members on the debt super committee, saying the committee was right up his ally, but he was not chosen by the Republican leadership.


That committee has to bring a proposal to Congress for an additional $1.2 - $1.4 trillion in cuts by November, and the vote has to be made by both the Senate and House of Representatives by the end of they ear.


While normal measures in the Senate require 60 votes to pass, Corker said the super committees proposal will only need 51 votes, a simple majority, to pass the Senate. He said those 51 votes will be much easier to obtain than the 60. Corker said he wishes normal order would be in place for the vote, but had positive things to say about the super committee.


I think Washington is getting ready to do things that are good for the American people, he said.


Corker felt the debt super-committee was a step in the right direction and said Congress has started down a path to resolving the spending and deficit issues. He also thought this issue would be the major political issue for the next decade.


The challenge of balancing the budget would be slower than most Americans realize, but Corker said it could be achieved within 10 years, if Congress matched any increases in the debt ceiling with equal amounts of spending reductions.


Weve actually started a process that if we stick to it, we can balance the budget by 2021, Corker said.


He also advocated changing the tax code, cutting out most of the id=mce_marker.2 tax expenditures, more commonly referred to as loopholes that Corker said would create a more balanced and fair tax system.


If most of the tax expenditures are removed, Corker said that almost everyones rates, including tax rates for businesses would decrease and he believed that would help spur economic growth.


Currently, Corker said hes been calling other Senators to form a coalition to encourage the debt super-committee to consider making $3 trillion in cuts instead of the proposed$1.2 - $1.4 trillion.


Our country has tremendous difficulties to deal with, he said, adding that he believed everyone in Washington has stepped back from the partisan rhetoric and is starting to work together to achieve a common goal.


By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Postphall@wilsonpost.com

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