By Bernie Becker - 03/15/11 09:02 PM EDT
The bill that Corker said he would like to see attached to the debt ceiling vote, which he introduced with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) earlier this year, would roll mandatory and discretionary spending back over a decade – from the current 24.7 percent of gross domestic product to 20.6 percent, essentially the average over the last 40 years.
As it stands, the Treasury Department expects to hit the $14.3 trillion debt limit between April 15 and May 31.
The Obama administration has been calling for Congress to not play politics with the raising of the ceiling. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged the limit will eventually need to be lifted, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated on Tuesday that the GOP expects that vote to be accompanied with “real spending cuts.”
As for Corker, the Tennessee senator stopped short of demanding that his measure be linked to the debt ceiling and dismissed criticism of the bill from Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader.
“I’m not laying a marker saying if you don’t pass my bill, I’m not voting for the debt ceiling,” Corker said in an interview after his speech. “But it has to be something very significant or I have no desire whatsoever to vote for the debt ceiling.”
Reid and liberal groups like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have criticized the bill that Corker introduced with McCaskill, with Reid upset with the way the measure deals with Social Security.
But Corker indicated that his pitch on his Commitment to American Prosperity Act had been better received by other Democrats.
“I would be surprised if Senator Reid even knows what the CAP Act is at this point,” Corker said. “I think that’s generally his first reaction to things like this.”
A spokesman for Reid did not respond to a request for comment.