Sen. Corker on Congress and Spending: ‘We Never Have a Plan’ or ‘Have Any Idea Where We Are’

By Nicholas Ballasy | February 2, 2011 | 11:21 AM EST

( – In announcing the Commitment to American Prosperity (CAP) Act, which would cap all federal spending over a 10-year period, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that Congress’ shortcoming is that “we never have a plan” and “we never have any idea where we are,” while Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) interrupted, saying, “We have reelection plans.”

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Corker said, “What this bill does is it forces us, as Senator McCaskill just said, to look at the long haul; to look at it over time. One of the things that I find fascinating about this place is we never have a plan.”

“We never have any idea where we are,” said Corker. “It’s the most amazing place in the world. What we do is argue over the shiny objects each year, which take us no place, and we never have a plan, and so what this does is –.”

McCaskill then said, “We have re-election plans.”

“Yeah, we have re-election plans and that’s why we argue over the shiny objects, I might add,” said Corker. “So are the things that basically you ask us about in the hallways that generate a lot -- which we appreciate -- but the fact is that what this [legislation] does is, for the first time, it would lay out a target and we could work through it in a pragmatic way, which my sense is all of us did in our other lives prior to getting here.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

Corker and McCaskill are the sponsors of the CAP Act, which would set a ceiling on discretionary and non-discretionary spending over a 10-year period. The bill aims to bring spending down from the current level of 24.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 20.6 percent.

The federal budget in fiscal year 2010 was $3.5 trillion, with a deficit of $1.4 trillion.  The current national debt is $14.1 trillion, or about $45,000 per every citizen in the United States.