Corker comes out against Senate budget deal

Corker comes out against Senate budget deal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts: report McConnell: We may 'be in the early stages' of a trade war MORE (R-Tenn.) said on Thursday that he will oppose the bipartisan two-year budget deal, citing concerns about the deficit.

"To say I am discouraged by the outcome of these negotiations would be an understatement," he said.

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on the deal, which lifts the budget caps by roughly $300 billion over two years and raises the debt ceiling until March 2019.

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Corker, a fiscal hawk, added that the agreement "perpetuates the abuse" of a war account not subjected to the budget restrictions and "tees up" another spending fight in two years. 

"It is also only partially offset, and most of those offsets occur years from now, doubling down on the irresponsible mentality in Congress of spend-now-pay-later," he said.

Last year, Corker, who is retiring after 2018, threatened to oppose the GOP tax plan over similar concerns about the deficit before ultimately voting for the final bill.

Fiscal hawks have blasted the agreement, arguing it blows a hole in spending. It would boost funding for the Pentagon and nondefense domestic programs by about $300 billion over current levels over the next two fiscal years, but lawmakers said that only about $100 billion of that would be offset.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus took an official position against the measure on Wednesday evening.

“This spending proposal is disgusting and reckless — the biggest spending increase since 2009,” Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP Rep. Amash slams Kavanaugh on government surveillance rulings House Freedom Caucus roiled by Trump's attacks on Mark Sanford Freedom Caucus to Trump: Lay off Sanford attacks MORE (R-Mich.) tweeted. “I urge every American to speak out against this fiscal insanity.”

But the Senate is expected to easily pass the bill, which also includes a short-term extension of government funding.

During a Thursday interview, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record Tampons sent to Dem who called for free feminine hygiene products in House MORE (R-Wis.) said he believes the package also has the votes to pass the House.

“I think we will,” Ryan told radio show host Hugh Hewitt. “I feel good. Part of it depends on the Democrats. This is a bipartisan bill. It’s going to need bipartisan support.”