Politics

Corker: Republican Primaries Could Be Over Next Week

Corker says voters have a right to be even more angry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Corker believes the Republican nominating contest could be all but over in a week.  

"I think March 1 is going to be a highly definitive day relative to the outcome of this race," the Tennessee Republican said Wednesday. Corker's home state is one of several in SEC country participating in next week's Super Tuesday primary.  

When asked about the state of presidential politics and the preference among Republican voters for outsiders, Corker said he actually doesn't think voters are angry enough, but he's not planning any endorsements. Businessman Donald Trump, who walloped his opponents in Tuesday's Nevada caucuses, has been on a roll on the GOP side, with wins also in New Hampshire and South Carolina.  

"Look, I think the American people have every right to be angry. I tell them I think they ought to be angrier than they are," Corker said.  

Speaking with a small group of reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Corker said the current division of power with a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Congress should have been an opportunity to make tough decisions about entitlement spending and national priorities, but neither the executive nor legislative branches would do it.  

"Have we addressed the major issues of our nation? Not one. Not one. I mean, people should be upset," Corker said. "We will not address the fiscal issue."  

Corker also criticized presidential candidates from both parties for not getting into the weeds of the federal budget.  

"It's amazing. Everybody's channeling this anger, but how many of the candidates are talking about the fiscal issue?" Corker asked. "I think Chris Christie was talking about it. It didn't work so well."  

Corker's comments came shortly after calling the current budget process a "total hoax," saying everyone knows that the Republican budget from last year wouldn't actually achieve balance over the next decade.  

"It really challenges your integrity to even go through the process, to be honest," said Corker, a senior member of the Budget Committee. He said Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., wants to overhaul the process.  

Corker himself actually has a radical idea to change the way the system works by getting rid of the political budget blueprints entirely.  

"I actually wish the budget document was a 60-vote document that forced Republicans and Democrats to come to terms with the tough issues," said Corker. "I wish it was a document that the president had to sign or no money could be spent."  

Corker also noted that the Republican budget made assumptions about targeted tax provisions known as the "extenders" wouldn't actually continue. But to Corker, the budget resolution debate seems like a symptom of a larger problem.  

"We have more getting done this year," Corker said. "But have we addressed the major issues of this nation? Not one."

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