Corker Discusses Issues Facing Congress in 2015 in Bloomberg Interview

Press release from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; January 15, 2015:

HERSHEY, Pennsylvania – Appearing on Bloomberg Television with Peter Cook from the Senate-House Republican retreat today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) discussed some of the major issues facing Congress in the year ahead including Iran nuclear discussions, an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding in light of President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, the need for Congress to address housing finance reform, and oversight of the Federal Reserve.

Excerpts from Corker’s interview with Peter Cook follow.

On the Senate-House Republican retreat: “We have a lot of similarities that we need to synchronize. It has been a good session. I’m glad to be here. I think it has been very helpful for people to understand how each body [of Congress] plans to move things along.”

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On the prospects of Republican legislative priorities in the face of veto threats from President Obama: “We will follow our own course. Certainly, we are going to deal with things like energy. We have to deal with a budget. We certainly will deal with the Iran issue very fully.”

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On Congress weighing in on Iran nuclear discussions: “I think it’s only right that Congress has the ability to weigh in. Congress got us to the table. Certainly the administration was involved heavily in that too, but Congress played a major role, and we need to play a major role in ensuring that whatever final agreement that is negotiated [with Iran] is one that will stand the test of time.”

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On an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS: “The president has given the nod and plans to work with us soon on an AUMF, an authorization for the use of military force. We hope that is actually going to occur.”

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On the prospects of the Senate passing a “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding bill in light of President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration: “I would not think that would be the case. I think everyone [in Congress] is cognizant of the fact that Americans’ security is one of the most important functions, and homeland security is certainly central to that, and we all want to maintain that. At the same time, my sense is that the Senate will speak very strongly to some of the issues that you are alluding to.”

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On the need for Congress to address housing finance reform: “The biggest issue though, Peter, to me is when Dodd-Frank was being passed, every single Republican senator, I believe, went to the floor and complained about the fact that it didn’t include changes to Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], winding them down, keeping them off as a taxpayer liability. It is the biggest issue that we need to deal with. From my standpoint, it would be total malpractice for us not to figure out a way to get this tremendous taxpayer liability dealt with and have the private sector playing the kind of role it should be playing right now in housing finance.”

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On oversight of the Federal Reserve: “There is not a lot of oversight into how the Fed is carrying out its regulations. I think you will see a lot of meetings in that regard, trying to understand how [Federal Reserve Governor Daniel] Tarullo and others are going about their business [and] the effects that it is having downstream. One of the most important roles we play, and yet haven’t played it much, is oversight. I think that’s something that is going to be very, very robust over the next couple of years.”

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Senator Corker is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an active member of the Senate Banking Committee and Senate Budget Committee.