Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that he doubts Republicans will be able to reach a budget deal with the Obama administration in time to avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" on Jan. 1.
"I think we're going over the cliff," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
President Barack Obama's proposed $1.6 trillion in new revenue and $80 billion in spending on infrastructure investments and unemployment benefits. While Republicans are willing to accept some tax increases on the wealthy, Graham said, they will only do so if Obama agrees to cut entitlement programs. "The president's plan when it comes to entitlement reform is, quite frankly, a joke," he said. "I don't think they're serious about finding a deal."
If a deal is not reached by the end of the year, Bush-era tax cuts will automatically expire for all Americans and massive spending cuts will go into effect, which could potentially cause another recession.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on Sunday that Social Security reform is off the table until after fiscal cliff negotiations are over. The president is willing to make some reforms to Medicare, he said, such as raising premiums on wealthier recipients and reforming the way the government pays for prescription drugs. But Republicans have yet to offer a counter-proposal of their own.
"The only thing standing in the way of [a deal] would be a refusal by Republicans to accept that rates are going to have to go up on the wealthiest Americans. And I don't really see them doing that," Geithner said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
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