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Corker Says State of the Union Should Focus on 'Getting our Fiscal House in Order'

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said today that the most important thing for President Obama to focus on in his State of the Union address is getting our country's fiscal house in order.

"I know the president in a State of the Union will talk about a lot of things, but I think the most important thing for him to focus on is getting our fiscal house in order, to rid ourselves of these deficits that have been piling up for years," said Corker. "Both sides of the aisle are responsible for putting us in the position we're in, but it's up to the president tonight – and those of us in Congress next – to act, to do those things necessary to get our spending under control, to get Congress and to get Washington in a straightjacket so we get back to the norms of the last 40 years. I plan to do that with a bill that I've introduced. I hope the president will focus heavily on that tonight. I think that is the number one threat to our economic security and to our national security and to the greatness of this country."

In the coming days, Corker and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will reintroduce the Commitment to America's Prosperity Act, legislation to limit all federal spending to a declining percentage of GDP so revenues and expenditures converge over a reasonable period of time. The "CAP Act" would (1) eliminate the deceptive "off-budget" distinction for Social Security, finally allowing for a complete, accurate and honest assessment of federal spending and (2) put in place a 10-year glide path to bring all federal spending down to the historical average, 20.6 percent of GDP. Failure to meet the annual caps would authorize the White House Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed, simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to get us down to the pre-determined level. Only a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress could override it, and members would be accountable to voters for spending in excess of the cap for that year.

During the fall Corker delivered his presentation on "America's Debt Crisis" to 43 audiences across Tennessee.

Among his points:

• In 2009 the federal government spent $1.4 trillion more than it took in, borrowing nearly 40 cents of every dollar.

• The gap between spending and revenue is almost four times the historic average. Even when we reach historic revenue levels, we are still projected to be spending nearly six percent more of our gross domestic product than we take in, and the gap will continue to widen.

• By 2035, on our current trajectory, our debt will reach 185 percent of GDP. If this occurs, interest payments on our debt will reach nearly nine percent of GDP – as much as we currently spend on national defense, education, roads, and all government agencies combined.

Published January 25, 20111, 7:51 pm

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