He pushed back on the contention he is receiving a kickback by voting "yes" for the bill
'It's amazing how I was sort of the darling on the left three weeks ago and now the enemy of the left today'
Republican Sen. Bob Corker vigorously defended his vote for the tax overhaul Tuesday against allegations that he did so because of a provision that would benefit him financially and against criticisms that he had flip-flopped on his past pledge not to vote for any plan that raised the deficit.
Speaking on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” the Tennessee Republican said his initial opposition to the bill was motivated by the possibility of a bipartisan package.
“I was still in discussions with some Democrats that were interested,” Corker said. “But at this point, you know, when it comes down to this vote, I know that that is not gonna happen,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “And do I think that our country is better off having this tax reform in place versus not? I do.”
Corker slammed an International Business Times story that alleged Corker received a specific carve-out in the final bill that would greatly help the Tennessee Republican’s own personal wealth in exchange for his flip to “yes” on the bill.
“I knew nothing about the provision,” Corker said. “I’ve had no involvement. It actually came out of the House.”
In comments earlier Tuesday, Corker said he didn’t add a “single word” to the Republican’s tax bill, defending himself against accusations that he is now backing the measure because of a provision that could help his bottom line.
He pushed back on the contention he is receiving a kickback by voting “yes”.
“I should be embarrassed by this maybe but I haven’t added a single word to this tax policy, that just hasn’t been my focus,” Corker told reporters on Tuesday.
“Obviously I had nothing whatsoever to do with any provision whatsoever of this bill,” he added. “The people who are the tax writers have said that. Look, it’s the way this place has become, and obviously sort of assassination if you will, but it’s just not true.”
Corker previously said he would not support the bill if it added to the deficit, but in Tuesday’s interview on CNN, Corker said that while he “certainly” cares about the deficit, he also cares about “pro-growth reform.”
“As I’ve looked at this policy and I’ve looked at the benefits to us relative to growth, this is a decision I’m making,” Corker said.
Several aides have made clear that Sen. John McCain’s health – McCain flew home to Arizona this weekend – played a role in why Corker decided to change his vote to “yes.”
He also claimed that one day he was a hero of the left for not supporting the bill but now he’s being vilified by them when asked if he was concerned about he would be remembered for his vote.
“Well look, I mean, it’s amazing how I was sort of the darling on the left three weeks ago and now the enemy of the left today, when you’re in the middle of these big issues and have an impact on them, that’s just a part of it,” he said. “There’s no truth whatsoever to that, every person that’s been involved in this policy … knows that.”