With hours to spare and no solution to the deadlock preventing lawmakers from striking a bargain to avoid the fiscal cliff, Sen. Bob Corker challenged President Barack Obama Sunday to clarify his claim that he's offered $1 trillion in "additional spending cuts" as part of continuing negotiations.
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Obama said he had offered "over a trillion dollars in additional spending cuts for every one dollar of increased revenue" during talks with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. Appearing later on CNN's "State of the Union," Corker suggested the president's claim did not have any weight to it, for lack of specifics.
"I don't think any American has ever seen those trillion dollars in cuts that he offered," Corker said. "There's never been any specifics, and if I were president, I certainly would lay those out for the American people."
The senator then penned a letter to Obama, asking the president to be more detailed in the future.
"As you know, Congress must reduce national concepts to actual legislative text," Corker wrote. "Members of Congress and the American people cannot judge the merit and long-term fiscal implications of these spending cuts unless you provide concrete detail. As we move forward in wrestling with the nation's fiscal crises, especially the debt ceiling, it would help us to have a concrete plan and legislative language from you."
Earlier this month, Corker introduced legislation which would allow for an increase of nearly $1 trillion in the debt ceiling next year in exchange for a combined $1 trillion in reductions to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Last week, Sen. Lamar Alexander announced he would partner with Corker in supporting the proposal.
As the clock continued to tick toward a New Year's deadline Monday, Corker appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," and suggested regardless off a potential deal being brokered, the outcome of final negotiations to avoid the mix of tax increases and spending cuts would be "inconsequential." According to a Politico report, Corker was quoted saying he was confident the issue would be resolved, but fail to leave a lasting impact.
"I've really moved on to the next debate," he said. "I mean, we realize that in the next 24 hours or so this is going to be resolved, and unfortunately, we've not moved one step closer to solving our national issues. And so I've moved on to the debt ceiling."
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