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11.26.2012

SEN. BOB CORKER URGES PEOPLE NOT TO GIVE CONGRESS A PASS ON WORKING OUT A SOLUTION TO THE UPCOMING FISCAL CLIFF, TODAY ON “CBS THIS MORNING”

CORKER TELLS CO-HOSTS CHARLIE ROSE AND NORAH O’DONNELL: “WE CREATED THIS FISCAL CLIFF. WE SHOULD SOLVE IT”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) urged people not to give Congress a pass on working out a solution to the upcoming fiscal cliff in an interview with co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell that aired live today, Nov. 26, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM).

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

ROSE: Are you prepared, as others are doing, to sort of say I’m going to forgo the pledge because it is outdated and the country’s problems are too big?

CORKER: Well, I’m not obligated on the pledge. I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected, that the only thing I’m honoring is the oath that I take when I serve, when I’m sworn in this January. So look, I’ve laid out a bill, Charlie, that’s 242 pages long; in other words, it’s not long. It’s got $1 trillion in revenues, obviously it has real entitlement reform, which is the other side of this equation, but no Congress in history is more prepared to make these decisions. We’ve had two dry runs. We’ve litigated this; we’ve gone through every single score of every single decision that would have to be made. The last thing we need to do right now is kick the can down the road or create some process for next year.

ROSE: Can you do that between now and–

CORKER: Absolutely.

ROSE: Jan. 1?

CORKER: Charlie, there’s a menu of options on the revenue side and on the entitlement side, and as long as there are two parties that are willing to solve this problem, this is a very easy thing to do technically. What it takes is political courage, and what I’ve seen around here is a lot of folks constantly want to make tough decisions later and down the road, but the easiest and best thing we can do for this country is to go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off. Make these decisions, and in January, we’ll see an economy that will take off. We can focus on the greatness of this country Jan. 1 if we’ll go ahead and do the work that we all know we have plenty of time to get done this year.

O’DONNELL: Let’s talk about the specifics of your plan. Everyone acknowledges you need about $4 trillion in deficit reductions over the next 10 years. You don’t want to raise taxes; you want additional revenue by essentially capping deductions at $50,000. Independent analysis by the Tax Policy Center says that only gets you about $760 billion. It’s not enough money, so how do you get more revenue?

CORKER: Well, the package that I’ve laid out has over $1 trillion in revenues, it has the $750 you just alluded to, but we also do chained CPI, and in that you not only reduce the rate which benefits growth, but it also moves people into brackets more quickly. Also, Social Security was set up to capture 90% of the wages in our country. Now it’s at 84%. If you move that up gradually through 2050, it generates a lot more revenue. So there’s over $1 trillion in this package, and, Norah, I don’t know of a Republican who’s actually written a bill who has over $1 trillion in revenues. It does, but it’s coupled with real entitlement reform and those are the two ends of the spectrum, and it takes two parties that are willing to sit down and really deal with this issue to make this happen. It’s that political courage that we need. Not worries about whether we can technically make this happen or not.

O’DONNELL: I hear you, and you’re trying to move the ball forward.

CORKER: That’s right.

O’DONNELL: Let me ask you: Would you be willing to also raise the capital gains rate?

CORKER: You know, I’m not—I’m not the negotiator sitting at the table. I’m open to solving this problem, and what I’ve done, Norah, in a 242-page bill is show both the White House and Republican negotiators that this technically is very easy to do. It’s much easier to go ahead and decide what we’re going to do now than to try to craft some bill that lays out a process for us to do this next year. So, look, I think I’ve shown a willingness to compromise and solve this problem, put this in the rearview mirror, start next year focusing on the greatness of this nation, and what I’d like to see is—is leader Boehner and Mitch McConnell and the President sit down, as they’ve all said they want to do, and create a package that all of us can get behind and move away from this.

ROSE: Can you get–

CORKER: And I think they’re going to do that. I think they’re going to do that.

ROSE: Can you get the Republican leader on board with your plan, Mitch McConnell?

CORKER: Well, look, again, this is not so much focused on my plan. This plan can be improved, and Norah threw something out just a minute ago. What I hope that all of you who influence our country and influence the decision-makers is, I hope you will not give us a pass. People are saying this is too difficult to do this year. The fact is again we have all the information we need. No congress is more informed. We created this fiscal cliff. We should solve it. I’m seeing a willingness on behalf of the White House and Speaker Boehner to sit down, and as long as we have two parties who are willing to do this and have the courage to address these issues, we can do this over the next three or four weeks with ease, and I hope that’s what’s going to happen.

Click here to watch the video.

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Chris Licht is the Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.

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Press Contact:   Lorie Anne Acio      212-975-5460        AcioL@cbsnews.com