ETOWAH - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said yesterday that he can feel a "somberness" and "seriousness" in Americans today that wasn't present before the passage of a recent bill that raised the country's debt ceiling.
"It's different that it was even in June and July," Corker said, adding that he believed the country's attitude could lead to positive changes over the coming months if it's handled correctly.
Corker addressed the Etowah Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday afternoon during the group's meeting in the L&N Depot's Portico Room.
Corker is hopeful, he said, that raising the debt ceiling and alternately cutting the same amount as the raise from the nation's budget could, over the course of several years, help the country financially.
"If we continue this trend, we could have a balanced budget in 2021," Corker said.
Corker criticized the environment the current administration has taken toward fostering new business growth.
"Washington has acted like a wet blanket," Corker said.
He also supported continuing to make use of American energy sources.
"The EPA, in my opinion, is totally out of control," Corker said, adding that, in some places in Appalachia, jobs in energy are the only ones that are well-paying and readily available.
In addition to his comments about business, Corker addressed the need to reform the Medicare system.
"The average family pays $109,000 into Medicare (over the course of a lifetime), Corker said. They take out $343,000. The math doesn't add up," he said.
Ultimately, Corker thanked the residents of Tennessee for the opportunity to serve in the Senate.
"I thank you for allowing me to do what I do," he said.