MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Tuesday that an effort by fellow Republicans to threaten a government shutdown over President Barack Obama's health care law is losing steam and that most colleagues who signed on to the measure now regret they did.
Corker in a Rotary Club appearance called the idea "self-defeating" because a government shutdown would not halt spending for most of the health care program, while it would at the same time have negative consequences like halting military pay.
Corker said a shared concern about the implementation of the health care law led most of the dozen colleagues to sign on to the measure.
"I would say of the 12 people who signed it, there's probably only about three or four that really wish they were still on it," Corker said.
Corker told the group that his philosophy about his role in office sometimes conflicts with other colleagues in the Senate.
"There are some people who are elected to make a point, and that's all they do. And there's some people who are elected believe they're there to make a difference and to solve our nation's problems," he said. "And every day I do everything I can to try to be in that second camp."
Corker, who overwhelmingly won a second two-year term in November, declined when asked by reporters afterward to identify any fellow Senators who he considers to be in the first camp.
"The art of getting things done is to realize the various forces that are at work and what's driving those and what the motivation is behind particular positions people will take," Corker said. "So you try to figure out how to get from A to B with those various motivations."
"You go to a committee meeting and you sit around and you listen to the questions people ask, and you can see real quickly who's actually there to solve a particular problem, and who's there to basically ask questions that sound great back home or around the country," he said.
Asked by an audience member about his position on term limits, Corker said he prefers to defer to the electorate to decide the fate of politicians.
"All I say is you decide, and I'll abide," he said.
The senator declined to elaborate to reporters about whether that position conflicts with a 2006 campaign pledge to only seek two terms in the Senate, noting that he was only six months into his second term.
"Why don't you watch as history unfolds," he said.