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Sen. Bob Corker: 'I've been a deficit hawk for 11 years' and don't want to damage the nation with tax vote

  • Republican Sen. Bob Corker says he's on the fence about the crucial tax reform vote because he doesn't want to "damage the nation over the long haul."
  • "I've been in the Senate for 11 years. I've been a deficit hawk for 11 years," he says.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker told CNBC on Tuesday he's on the fence about the crucial tax reform vote because he doesn't want to "damage the nation over the long haul."

During an interview with "Squawk Box," Corker suggested he could oppose the Republican tax bill in a procedural Senate Budget Committee vote Tuesday.

He said a trigger mechanism to curb future budget deficits could help to win his vote.

The full Senate may vote this week on the tax package. Republicans hold 52 seats in the 100-member Senate, so the administration cannot afford to lose more than two GOP votes since Democrats are united in their opposition to the proposal.

Since Trump took office, the GOP-led Congress has failed in several major initiatives, including the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

The Tennessee Republican, who recently spoke out against President Donald Trump, said it is "ridiculous" that anyone could claim he would vote against something "that's good policy because of some rift that's occurring."

"It's just absolutely untrue," Corker said.

"I've been in the Senate for 11 years. I've been a deficit hawk for 11 years," Corker added. "I've been working with the administration on almost every level throughout this entire episode."

Corker said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called him to "thank him" for working with the administration on the tax bill. "So, it's ridiculous statement to think that on a policy this big, that's going to affect what you might do."

Corker, who is not seeking re-election next year, called Trump last month an "utterly untruthful president" and suggested the president should stay out of the tax-writing process.

Trump at the time contended the Tennessee Republican is "fighting" tax cuts and "couldn't get elected dog catcher."

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