On Tuesday, Senator Corker discussed the need to get our country's fiscal house in order on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
"It's a great time for us to actually tackle the big issue [fiscal reform]. I still believe that our market, our economy would really take off if we would just go ahead and deal with this issue," said Corker. He went on to say that failing to get our fiscal house in order is "the thing that's keeping people from investing even more in the future it's just not affecting our economy, but our standing around the world."
Seeking Accountability at the State Department and USAID
In a letter to President Obama on Monday, Senator Corker, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, called for the nomination of permanent Inspectors General at the State Department and USAID to provide accountability and prevent wasteful spending at both agencies. On Monday a nomination was made for a permanent IG at USAID, but the position remains vacant at the State Department.
"We are deeply concerned that the two lead agencies carrying out the international programs and activities of the United States, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have been operating without permanent Inspectors General for a considerable period of time. The Department of State has not had an Inspector General since 2008 and USAID has had a vacancy since 2011. Inspectors General play a crucial role in identifying ineffective programs, process weaknesses, and wasteful spending that undermine public confidence in government," wrote the senator in the letter to President Obama.
Still No Answers from Obama Administration on Secret Cash for Karzai
Having received no response from the Obama administration about the rationale for alleged secret cash payments to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Senator Corker sent his third letter to President Obama this week demanding a briefing to understand how these payments support U.S. objectives for Afghanistan. Senator Corker further called for "a U.S. policy that is based, fundamentally, on the same values that make our nation great, including the rule of law."
"As you know, the United States government has long sought, through a number of critically important programs that your administration has implemented, to reduce corruption in Afghanistan and establish the rule of law through a strong and independent judiciary. I am deeply concerned that these alleged cash payments, if they actually happened, undermine these efforts and may indeed enhance corruption in Afghanistan [E]ven if these alleged payments may gain us some short-term value from a national security or intelligence perspective, they may be severely counterproductive in the long run. Moreover, it appears that the lack of coordination and access to this information, both within the executive branch, as well as in Congress, may contribute to the potentially contradictory and incoherent nature of our policy in Afghanistan and elsewhere," wrote Corker in his letter to the president.
Senator Corker made his initial request for answers in a letter to the president on May 2, which was followed by a second letter on May 14 and a direct question of a top administration official who declined to comment publicly on the matter. President Karzai has publicly acknowledged a meeting in Kabul with the CIA station chief who assured him the payments will continue.
Tennesseans Visit Washington
Senators Corker and Alexander met with over 55 Tennesseans at this week's constituent breakfast on Capitol Hill.