By most measures of fiscal responsibility Bob Corker’s career in the U.S. Senate began with a resounding thud.
In one of his first votes as a senator, Corker voted to increase the federal minimum wage, which ultimately squeezed hundreds of thousands of Americans out of the workforce.
He then voted to increase the debt ceiling, pour $11.4 billion into subsidizing Amtrak and back the pork-laden and much-criticized 2008 Farm Bill.
Corker also supported the much-derided and economically nonsensical “Cash for Clunkers” vehicle trade-in program and the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Along the way, Corker made the decision that most damaged his reputation among fiscal conservatives when he voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the $700 billion scheme to bail out troubled financial institutions. At the time, Corker considered the TARP vote a necessary evil. To this day, some conservatives view it as an unforgivable sin.
But here’s the thing: Over the past three years, Bob Corker has been one of the most fiscally responsible members of the United States Senate.
Sen. Corker has been a leader on the issue of earmark reform, refusing to accept earmarks and supporting legislation that would effectively end the earmarking process.
He voted against the stimulus and the auto bailout.
Corker won “Taxpayer Friend” awards from the National Taxpayers Union in both 2010 and 2011. In their most recent annual Congressional ratings, Citizens Against Government Waste named Corker a “Hero” for, among other things, voting against state bailouts and more increases to the debt ceiling, and for voting to extend tax cuts.
In 2011, Corker voted against every single appropriations bill, citing concerns about the debt and increased spending at a time when the country could not afford it.
This year, Tennessee’s junior senator became the national leader of the “CAP Act” legislation that would set an across-the-board, binding cap limiting all federal spending. This commonsense approach to injecting fiscal restraint into the federal budget is one of the most promising ideas to help address America’s out of control spending and mounting federal debt.
Three years into his term, it’s unlikely that this page would have endorsed Bob Corker for reelection. He was a big government, big spending disappointment.
That has all changed now. Corker is now one of the senate’s leading lights for fiscal solvency, and he is a champion for reducing the national debt and reining in untenable entitlement programs.
In celebration of the fiscally conservative, low tax, anti-wasteful spending force he’s become, we strongly endorse Bob Corker for U.S. Senate — and hope he never reverts back to his old ways.