U.S. Sen. Bob Corker wasn’t ready to go anywhere near as far as Gov. Bill Haslam did this week on what budget talks in Washington would mean long-term for Tennessee.
Haslam said in Fayetteville on Thursday the state should be prepared to see less federal funding as the result of Congress coming to grips with the federal debt issue.
“It really is way, way, way premature to talk about what effects there might be,” Corker said Friday night at the Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville.
“We’re going to have to prioritize funds. We all know what needs to happen. Forty cents of every dollar we spend we don’t have. It really would be too premature to speak to how specifically that would affect the state of Tennessee.”
Haslam said Thursday that while he believes the current debt crisis will be resolved, “there will be less money coming out of Washington than there used to be. There just will be. For all programs. Whether that’s money aimed toward education or health care or building roads or helping folks with mental health issues or workforce development issues. There will be less Washington dollars going forward.”
As for Haslam’s comments, Corker said, “I respect him for saying that, and I thank him for the great job he’s doing running the state.”
Corker told the dinner crowd of the “tremendous dysfunction” he sees in Washington.
“We all know what we need to do. Tennesseans know what we need to do, and that is to spend less,” Corker said. “The fact we cannot figure out what Tennesseans know intuitively — know exactly what to do — is one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever seen.”
Corker said he is still hopeful a solution can be reached before the Aug. 2 deadline on raising the debt ceiling and that he hopes to see a plan that will dramatically reduce spending.