Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee became the latest Republican to express support to raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans as part of the negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. And he insists there are more like him. "There is a growing group of folks that are looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue, before year-end," Corker said on Fox News. The senator from Tennessee went on to note that if Republicans support the tax rate hike it could give them the upper hand in negotiations to force cuts in entitlement programs.
Corker joins a small group of Republican senators, including Tom Coburn, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe who have expressed a willingness to support a higher tax rate for wealthy Americans. Yet his endorsement is seen as particularly important because he’s a “solid fiscal conservative and bellwether for what other rank-and-file Republicans might support,” notes the Associated Press. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma also issued a similar message on CNN, saying that while his constituents “expect me to continue to fight for everybody’s taxes not going up,” he would be willing to take a deal that “that protects 98 percent of them.” Still, the House leadership remains publicly opposed to the idea of accepting higher tax rates, insisting that increased revenue can only come from eliminating tax deductions and loopholes, notes the Wall Street Journal.