Sen. John McCain will miss the GOP tax bill vote this week. Yet it’s understood that the bill could pass without him after Tennessee’s Bob Corker and Florida’s Marco Rubio announced their intent to vote for the tax bill after final revisions. Rubio made no secret of how the child-care tax credit pushed him to a “yes,” but Corker kept his rationale shrouded in secrecy. Well, the mystery may now be over while Corker scrambles to clean up the resulting bad look.
Corker — who became a household name this year after making “World War III” and “adult day care” trend in reference to President Trump — waited until after the reconciliation process to support the bill, and on Sunday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told ABC’s This Week that the final version includes a provision that could benefit real estate moguls, including President Trump, the Kushner family, and Corker. The International Business Times reported that Corker’s vote was switched immediately after this provision materialized, and as expected, there’s a ruckus unfolding.
Once social media caught wind of what people are referring to as the #CorkerKickback, the senator (according to The Tennessean) sent a letter Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to find out how the provision appeared:
Sen. Bob Corker asked a top Senate Republican on Sunday to explain how a provision that will provide a tax break to people with large commercial real estate holdings ended up in the final version of the tax reform package that Congress is expected to approve this week.
“Because this issue has raised concerns, I would ask that that you provide an explanation of the evolution of this provision and how it made it into the final conference report,” Corker wrote in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “I think that because of many sensitivities, clarity on this issue is very important and hope that you will respond in an expeditious manner,” said Corker.
Ooof. Meanwhile, Fox News is publicizing what Corker told the IB Times, which is that he decided to back the 1000+ page bill without actually reading it: “I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership. I never saw the actual text.” And that admission is also not spectacular, but perhaps it’s less damaging than admitting to switching a vote for a kickback? It’s hard to tell at this point.