Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) says that his party should agree to raise taxes on the wealthy before January because Republicans can force cuts to earned benefits like Medicare and Social Security next year by holding the debt ceiling hostage.
"I do think it's time for the president -- he knows there's a growing body of folks who are willing to look at the rate on the top 2 percent but that's only -- it could be $400 billion, it might be $800 billion, depending on how you deal with that," Corker told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday. "Many of us that are fiscal and conservatives are beginning to see that we could end up with a lesser revenue increase by agreeing to that."
"The shift to focus in entitlements is where we need to go," the Tennessee Republican added. "And again, it's a shame that we're not just sitting down and solving this, but Republicans know that they have the debt ceiling that's coming up right around the corner and the leverage is going to shift as soon as we get beyond this issue."
Corker pointed out that Republicans could use the debt ceiling to "do the same thing we did last time."
"If the president wants to raise the debt limit by $2 trillion, we get $2 trillion in spending reductions. And hopefully this time it's mostly oriented towards entitlements," he insisted.
Speaking to business leaders last week, President Barack Obama said that he would refuse to let Republicans use the debt ceiling in budget negotiations this time.
"I will not play that game," the president explained. "Because we've got to break that habit before it starts."