Corker, Alexander Key Players

News reports and political pundits discussing U.S. Senators who might go for a "grand bargain" that includes tax increases to avoid the "fiscal cliff" include two names of interest—both of them senators from Tennessee.

Given that Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are not noted Tea Party members, they usually get lumped in to a list of potential moderate votes for the final package. Corker has long been a proponent of his own bill to reduce federal spending and his ideas are likely to be part of the conversation.

Though Corker cruised to re-election this year, his current term expires as Gov. Bill Haslam would be finishing his term-limited two terms and Corker is seen as a possible candidate for governor rather than continuing in Washington. He might be reluctant to sign on to a tax increase, but it's six years until he faces a ballot for re-election or for governor.

Alexander faces the voters in two years but is a former two-term governor and seen as a prohibitive favorite for re-election.