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Senator Corker: Put a 'Straightjacket' on Federal Spending (PJM Exclusive)

Furthermore, if an amendment were to constrict spending to an even smaller percentage, the bill "automatically rejiggers to focus on the new target."

We also spoke about some of his new colleagues and the changes on Capitol Hill. I asked, "I know yesterday's ObamaCare repeal failed on party lines -- but what do you expect those party lines to look like in January or February of 2013?"

"You know, I was the only new GOP member in 2006, and you gotta believe! I think we have a tremendous opportunity [in 2012]. I'd be surprised if we're not in the majority."

Corker also said the GOP Senate caucus is "working with the House incredibly well right now," which is a refreshing change. Senators typically treat senators of the other party as the opposition, and House members, of any party, as the enemy.

On the new Republican faces, he said he's "very pleased with the crop of new senators ... all of them outspoken since day one." Corker joked that "to give you an idea of what kind of life I have, I was watching C-SPAN [the other night] and Mike Lee was incredibly impressive."

Up slightly north in Kentucky, he finds that "Rand [Paul] is very focused on spending," and he has had "multiple conversations with him." "Rob Portman knows so much." And that, overall, the new Senate is "very soberly concerned about fiscal issues" -- me, they just make me drink -- and that "the caucus is untied to do the things necessary to get us on course."

But most importantly, Corker said, speaking about his bill, "It's a paradigm shift" to look at government as a percentage of GDP. "It causes people to focus on economic growth." That is, with a solid cap in place, if you want to grow the size of government, you first must grow the size of the economy. That stands in stark contrast to the last two years, where the Democratic imperative has been to increase the size of Washington -- and damn the torpedoes. The result has been a 25% increase in federal spending, while employment has stagnated -- and with no end in sight for either problem.

"I don't think we have time to play with this," Corker concluded.