U.S. News

Use Deadline to Pressure Obama to Make Cuts: Corker

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker wants trillions in spending cuts and sees no reason to avoid using the Aug. 2 deadline to put some "leverage" on the Obama administration.

"I've heard a lot of people…say you shouldn’t use the debt ceiling for this kind of leverage," the Tennessee Republican and member of the Budget Committee told CNBC Monday.

"But we’ve been here now for 803 days without a budget. You can’t even get a budget out of the Budget Committee, which has a majority of Democrats. It is frustrating," he said. "The debt ceiling is a place where you can have some leverage to try to force cuts."

Debt Ceiling Talks Continue

Corker has long said Aug. 2 is not the "real date" when the government will default on paying its debt obligations because "there are some tools Treasury has" to avoid that action.

The senator called Aug. 2 "a convenient date," because Congress goes on recess Aug. 6. "There’s a human nature tendency to want to end things then," he said. "But I don’t think we want to go up against the wall. I think we ought to solve that in advance."

Corker, who has his own bill to cut spending over the next decade, doubts Democrats, including President Obama, made any serious proposals during last weekend's meeting to match Republicans' calls for cuts.

"There were no real changes that were going to take place in Medicare and Social Security, the kind of things that would make them solvent for the long term," Corker said. "Get  [Democrats] to tell you what it is they’re talking about cutting. Most of this has not been serious."

He was disappointed no "grand bargain" came out the weekend talks, and if he had been involved would have pushed for even deeper cuts than the $2 trillion discussed.

In the meantime, "There's no question over last 24 to 48 hours the White House has appeared to have the high road here...If allowed to keep the high road it would be an act of incompetence by the Republicans, because I don’t think there’s been any real cuts out there."