Bob Corker

At the marathon Senate Budget Committee hearing this week, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., strolled in like a man who had just quit his job and was ready to tell the boss what he really thinks.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the influential Foreign Relations Committee, will not seek re-election in 2018.

He is the first senator to announce retirement plans ahead of next year's election cycle.

"I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months," Corker said in a statement, "and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career."

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

A leading Republican senator told reporters on Thursday that President Trump "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful."

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker was at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga and spoke to local reporters there. In video posted by Chloe Morrison of Nooga.com, Corker added, "And we need for him to be successful. Our nation needs for him to be successful."

Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators have helped defeat an effort to raise the federal minimum wage.

Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined almost every other GOP Senator Wednesday in voting against a bill that would have boosted the minimum pay level for federal workers to $10.10 an hour by 2016, up from the current rate of $7.25.

Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats voted against the bill, with Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly supporting it.

Overall, the bill received 54 votes in favor and 42 votes against, short of the 60-vote threshold needed to continue.

Tennessee’s Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in favor of the measure.

The federal minimum wage bill has become a hot campaign topic ahead of the next round of Congressional elections. Democrats have portrayed GOP opposition to a minimum wage increase as proof of Republican disinterest in the working class poor.

Republicans point to a Congressional Budget Office report that found such an increase could cost the economy 500,000 jobs.

Tennessee’s junior U.S. Senator is asking the White House to provide arms to certain groups within the Syrian opposition.

Republican Bob Corker wrote a letter to President Obama this week, urging him to allow lethal aid to vetted elements within the opposition who aren’t hardline Islamists.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Corker, the ranking member of the GOP on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued in his letter that providing arms to secular elements in the Syrian opposition would “shift momentum away from radical Islamist groups, the Assad regime and its militias toward more moderate elements and could help alter the balance of power on the ground at a time when negotiations over a political settlement have stalled.”

Some senior U.S. officials told the Journal that Corker’s proposal would have little more than symbolic value at this point, given that arms are already widely available inside Syria.

The Tennessee Democratic Party is disavowing its U.S. Senate nominee, saying he’s associated with a “known hate group.” Mark Clayton won Thursday’s seven-way Democratic primary with 30% of the vote.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has fended off four challengers in a Republican primary to win his party's nomination for a second term. The former Chattanooga mayor faced a much easier time in his re-election bid than he did when he ran in 2006. Then he had a tough primary against two former congressmen and narrowly defeated former Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in an even-more bruising general election campaign.

Actress Park Overall said she's always had an interest in politics so she's mounting a bid to be the Democrat who takes the longshot chance at unseating Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. Overall starred in the popular television series "Empty Nest" in the late 1980s and early 1990s.