Self-Described Deficit Hawk Strikes a Tentative Tax Cut Deal

Sep 19 2017

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) — a member of the Senate’s “dwindling band of deficit hawks,” as the AP put it — had sought to limit the deficit increases of the GOP tax plan. But he signaled some flexibility in announcing the budget committee’s potential tax cut deal on Tuesday. "I'm all for pro-growth tax reform but over a decade it needs to pay for itself per valid models," he said, according to the Associated Press.

Corker had said recently that he was willing to accept a budget framework that assumed that some lapsed or expiring tax breaks would be extended by Congress, lowering the official cost of tax cuts by some $250 billion. The so-called “dynamic” effects baked into the official scoring of the tax plan — projections of the economic boost from the policy changes — could add hundreds of billions more.

But those dynamic scoring models are the subject of debate and disagreement among economists — and those debates are bound to intensify as tax legislation winds its way through Congress. “Congress' impartial scorekeepers have accepted the premise of such "dynamic scoring," but past studies by the Joint Tax Committee and Congressional Budget Office have been more pessimistic about how much economic growth and tax revenues would follow tax cuts,” AP’s Andrew Taylor notes.

Corker, meanwhile, was one of eight senators who voted against the $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday. He explained his “no” vote by saying, “The inability to get our fiscal house in order is the greatest threat to our country, and I will continue fighting for an agreement that responsibly funds our military without adding to our massive deficits.”