Corker Discusses Foreign Policy Issues, Taxes on Fox News Sunday

Press release from the Office of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; January 4, 2015:

CHATTANOOGA, TENN. – Appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discussed some of the major issues facing the Senate in the year ahead including how Congress should fund spending on our highway projects and roads programs, Iran sanctions, the administration’s new U.S. policy toward Cuba, the president’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay, and the fight against ISIS.

Excerpts from Corker’s interview with Chris Wallace are below:

On whether a Senate Republican majority can work with President Obama on issues like tax reform and trade authority: “Absolutely. Look, obviously we have not liked the executive actions that were taken… but we understand, with humility, that we have a lot of serious issues that need to be addressed. The bigger issues absolutely require the president to be involved, and I think with anticipation, we look forward to that opportunity.”

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On funding the Highway Trust Fund by increasing the gas user fee: “Yes, we have proposed raising the gasoline tax user fee, but also by offsetting other taxes that Americans would pay so it’s revenue neutral, but at least it would put our infrastructure on strong footing. That second component seems to get left out of the conversation most of the time.”

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On the administration’s new U.S. policy toward Cuba: “As I said when the announcement was made, the first thing we want to do is understand what behavioral changes Cuba is willing to make. So you’ll see some rigorous hearings [in Congress on this issue]… No one has seen a list of the political folks that are being released from jail. There’s a lot [we need] to know, and you’ll see us having hearings before decisions are made as to what to do relative to this action.”

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On Iran sanctions: “There’s no question if this deal falls apart there will be additional sanctions… This is one of the biggest issues we’ll be dealing with and for Congress not to have a role is totally inappropriate, so we’re going to move through the committee process. The Banking Committee will take up one aspect of this and the Foreign Relations Committee will take up another and through regular order we’ll see what will happen. I don’t think there’s any question for those in Iran or around the world that if this [nuclear discussion] falls apart, certainly there will be additional sanctions.”

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On the administration’s plans to close Guantanamo Bay: “The fact is all of us have been open to major changes at Gitmo, but we’re waiting for the administration to lay out a plan… That’s what all of us have been seeking for the last six years, and that is a plan – ever since he’s been in office – to deal with an issue that he campaigned on while running, and yet has never been forthcoming with.”

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On ISIS and passing an authorization for the use of military force:  “I think what we all are hoping to happen is getting the White House to lay out a plan that shows a plausible way to the outcome that they rhetorically have outlined….Certainly we’ll have hearings in January and February. Hopefully they will finally come forth and lay out to us how they will achieve that outcome, but to me that’s an important part of any authorization that we may put forward with Syria.”