WASHINGTON — In the year and a half since the Tennessee Republican Bob Corker joined the Senate Banking Committee, he has quickly become a key player, sharply questioning witnesses and working with Democrats to pass legislation.

Corker was one of the first Republicans to back Committee Chairman Chris Dodd as he crafted the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program last year, and has spearheaded a series of briefings with Virginia Democrat Mark Warner to further the regulatory reform debate.

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