Text of Sen. Bob Corker’s “weekly Republican address,” delivered Saturday, as provided by his office to media:
“I’m Bob Corker, and I’m proud to represent Tennessee in the United States Senate.
“When I was 25 years old, I saved $8,000 and started my own construction company. I worked hard, and my business expanded. Our country’s free enterprise system gave me the opportunity to earn success and to live the American Dream.
“I became involved in public service to help provide my neighbors with the opportunity to experience the American Dream themselves, and I came to Washington with the same goal.
“But I fear our country is moving to a place where politicians have lost sight of the value of earned success.
“Politicians are bankrupting our country by passing legislation without paying for it and abandoning the free market principles that give people the opportunity to succeed.
“It’s disappointing and, I can assure you, highly frustrating to see what happens here in Washington: More spending and debt and kicking tough decisions down the road, robbing – literally robbing – the next generation of the opportunity to pursue success and live their own American Dream.
“Last Sunday marked three years since the Senate has passed a budget. Three years. Think about that. The federal government, which spends more than $3.5 trillion a year, much of it borrowed from outside the United States, has no guideline for how that money is spent.
“The Democratic Leader of the Senate said it would be ‘foolish for us to do a budget at this stage,’ and he’s even refused to hold a vote.
“When the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee attempted to hold a markup on a budget, he was stopped at the last minute and pulled a vote from consideration.
“And what about our presidential leadership? President Obama’s budget failed to receive a single ‘yes’ vote in either House of Congress last year. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, this year’s presidential budget would actually decrease economic growth over the next decade.
“This kind of Washington mismanagement has put us in a place where over the last three years our debt has increased by more than $4 trillion.
“Failing to accomplish even the most basic responsibility of government is a total failure of leadership and represents everything the American people hate about Washington.
“Just last month, the trustees for Medicare and Social Security reiterated that the programs are on a path towards insolvency and in urgent need of reform.
“Despite every warning sign imaginable, we have no solutions from this Administration or Democratic leadership in the Senate.
“The President punts on almost every tough decision. In fact, as he appeals to college students, his Administration is robbing those same young people of their American inheritance, spending their money on my generation and engaging in nothing short of generational theft.
“Families and state governments are making tough decisions every day in order to make ends meet. And businesses are crying out for clarity on tax rates and regulation. This uncertainty is what’s weighing down the recovery and preventing the investment needed to create jobs in Tennessee and throughout the country. Washington’s lack of courage to deal with out-of-control spending is only adding to the sense of uncertainty among investors and potential small businesses owners.
“At present, our inability to deal with these issues is our greatest enemy. In other words, we are our greatest enemy. But I also believe it can be our greatest opportunity.
“We need pro-growth tax reform. This means simplifying the tax code and doing away with most, if not all, of the $1.2 trillion in loopholes and tax expenditures that Congress has created to try to drive your behavior. This would allow us to broaden the tax base and lower rates for everyone.
“This kind of tax reform combined with a long-term plan to reduce our debt and strengthen Social Security and Medicare so that they are solvent for the long haul would really cause our economy to just take off.
“Growing the private sector, not government, will ensure that we remain the strongest country in the world. Preserving the principles that have made this country great is the struggle of this generation–free enterprise, personal liberty and a society where everyone has the tools and the opportunity to earn success.
“Nothing makes people happier than earning success. Our Founding Fathers understood this and considered the ‘pursuit of happiness’ to be a God-given right. Let’s put in place policies that will enable future generations to earn success. It’s the American Dream.”