Bob Corker

Ratings Update: Tennessee Senate Remains Solid R for Now
Democrats may still have uphill battle, even with Bredesen

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. (Courtesy the American Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Democrats made a big splash this week with the entry of former Gov. Phil Bredesen into the Tennessee Senate race, but the party still has an uphill battle in a state President Donald Trump won convincingly, and it’s not even clear Bredesen gives Democrats the best chance of winning.

On the surface, having a former two-term governor running for an open seat (GOP Sen. Bob Corker is not running for re-election) looks like a great takeover opportunity for Democrats, but there are some signs that the race should still be considered a long shot.

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen Running for Senate in Tennessee
Democrats already have an Iraq War veteran in the open-seat race

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said his experience prepares him to “fix the mess in Washington” in announcing his campaign for retiring Sen. Bob Corker’s seat. (Bredesen for Senate via YouTube)

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen is running for the open Senate seat in Tennessee. 

“I’m running for the Senate because I have the right kind of experience, and the actual track record that it will take to start working across party lines to fix the mess in Washington,” Bredesen said in announcement video Thursday morning. 

Trump’s Big Promises on To-Be-Written Tax Bill
‘We’re going to make it so that it comes out very beautifully,’ he says

Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans for their Tuesday policy lunch as the Capitol was awash in debate over taxes and spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even before House and Senate lawmakers begin ironing out differences in their tax overhaul bills, President Donald Trump promised working families Tuesday the final product will ensure they soon will “be making so much money you are not going to know what to do with it.”

The president had a small group of Senate Republicans to the White House for a lunch meeting about trade and his ongoing effort to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. But he could not resist talking up the still-emerging GOP tax bill.

Corker Still Trying to Find ‘Yes’ on Tax Overhaul

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bob Corker said Tuesday he is still working with the White House to try to revise the GOP tax bill in a way that could bring him on board.

The Tennessee Republican — who voted against the tax legislation on Saturday morning, citing concerns over the potential impact on the deficit — was the only Republican defection.

As Crunch Time Approaches, More Rumbling About Trump Behavior
Many members taken aback by a chaotic 48 hours last week

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on Sept. 27. A recent 48-hour period last week, which was chaotic even by Trump's standards, has lawmakers newly concerned about his mindset. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Several veteran Democratic lawmakers were flabbergasted last week by 48 hours that were among the wildest so far of Donald Trump’s presidency. And in private conversations, they say many of their Republican colleagues share similar concerns.

Trump appears to embrace a certain amount of chaos. After all, it generates media coverage — and the president is a voracious consumer of cable television and print news. But the 48 hours between last Tuesday and Thursday caused a spike in concerns among longtime Democratic members about Trump’s mindset and competence.

Victorious McConnell Praises GOP Team Effort on Taxes
The leader says he does not expect a tough conference

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the Mansfield room after the Senate Republicans' lunch with President Donald Trump on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 2:28 a.m. | This time, just about everything went according to plan for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican, who months ago came up just short of passing a bill through his chamber to roll back the 2010 health care law, got 51 Republicans behind the sweeping tax overhaul that passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

GOP Tax Package Enters Final Stretch With Senate Passage
After days of debate, the chamber passed the bill in the wee hours Saturday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor on Friday after saying that Republicans have enough votes to pass the tax reform bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate early Saturday voted 51-49 to pass the GOP tax code overhaul, setting up the last stage of the tax debate: high-stakes talks between House and Senate Republicans to write a compromise measure they can place on President Donald Trump’s desk.

After more than 24 hours of deal-making and arm-twisting by Senate GOP leaders, a number of major policy changes were made to the tax bill in the form of a broad manager’s amendment from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., adopted by unanimous consent before the legislation was passed.

Senate Republicans Secure Votes for Tax Overhaul

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., provided the Senate GOP with the necessary vote to advance the tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:03 p.m. | Senate Republicans appear to have the votes necessary to approve their tax code overhaul.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came out of a meeting with other Republicans and announced they had enough support. Shortly after, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he would support the GOP tax bill, adding the cushion GOP leaders were seeking after Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana earlier Friday said they had received enough assurances that their concerns would be addressed in a conference committee.

Senate GOP Keeps Working for Tax Overhaul Votes

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., speaks during a news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 7 on the Tepublican tax overhaul bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Friday said the GOP has the votes to pass a tax overhaul, but added they were still working to bring Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee onboard.

“We haven’t given up,” the Texas Republican said. His comments indicate the GOP has 50 votes, and can call in Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie, but would prefer to get all 52 Republicans on board. 

GOP Still Seeking Tax Overhaul Magic Numbers
Final bill may feature more ‘stimulus’ in the early years

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker appears to be among the keys to a tax overhaul deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After sending senators home earlier than expected Thursday, Republican negotiators were going to work through the night trying to thread the needle to get 50 or more votes for their tax code rewrite.

Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden was giving a lengthy speech criticizing the Republican tax plan after Thurday night’s final Senate vote, but the Oregon Democrat was really serving as the soundtrack over an animated gathering of Republican senators and senior aides.