Sen. Corker eager to act on economics, foreign policy

The new lawmaker from Tennessee has his own plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and will also have a voice in the next secretary of state.

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Bob Corker is spending a lot of time talking to Democrats.

The freshman lawmaker from Tennessee unveiled his own 10-year, $4.5 trillion solution for averting the end-of-year combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. He spoke briefly last week with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (GYT'-nur).

Corker also has spoken with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about Libya and other issues. Corker is a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee and is poised to become its top Republican next year. He'll have a major say on President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Clinton — possibly the divisive pick of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

In the Senate's new world order of a smaller Republican minority, the 60-year-old Corker is certain to play an outsized role.