Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) had been consistent throughout the debate over the Republican tax plan: if the GOP proposal added to the deficit, he couldn't vote for it. Two weeks ago, in a close vote on the Senate floor, Corker stuck to his guns, and was the only Republican in the chamber to oppose the regressive and unpopular bill.
As recently as Thursday, the Tennessee lawmaker complained, "The deficit concerns certainly have not been addressed." And yet, literally one day later, after his GOP colleagues ignored his concerns, Corker announced he'd changed his mind and would vote for the plan anyway.
The question, of course, is why he abandoned his principles and broke his word. Over the weekend, the controversy over Corker's strange reversal intensified.
The International Business Times reported that congressional Republicans added a special tax provision to the final GOP package -- which didn't appear in either the original House or Senate plans -- to benefit Americans with large commercial real estate holdings. Corker has large commercial real estate holdings, which means he stands to benefit personally from the plan he opposed up until Friday.
The controversy intensified further when Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) appeared on ABC News' "This Week" yesterday and George Stephanopoulos asked about the specific provision benefiting those with real estate income through LLCs. When the host asked if Republicans are prepared to undo this, Cornyn dodged. It led to this exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS: [This provision] apparently was added at the last minute. Why was that done? Why was it necessary to include that provision?
CORNYN: Well, we were working very hard. It was a very intense process. As I said, the Democrats refused to participate. And what we've tried to do is cobble together the votes we needed to get this bill passed.
When the host asked if this provision was used to win Corker over, Cornyn dodged again, sticking to vague talking points.
Instead of addressing questions of possible corruption, the #2 Republican in the Senate raised the volume on those questions.