WASHINGTON Dec 30 Republican Senator Lindsey
Graham said on Sunday that chances for a limited "fiscal cliff"
deal in the next 48 hours were "exceedingly good," as talks to
avoid tax increases and spending cuts on New Year's Day went
down to the wire.
"I think people don't want to go over the cliff if we can
avoid it," Graham, a leading conservative, said on Fox News
He predicted that Republicans in Congress were going to
accept some form of tax increases for wealthier Americans and
this would hand a victory to President Barack Obama, although a
leading Democrat warned of a big gap in talks between the
Obama was "going to get tax-rate increases" on upper income
Americans in the talks as he wants, Graham said.
The leading Senators from both parties are working on a
stopgap fiscal cliff deal to avoid taxes increasing for almost
all Americans on New Year's Day. They would probably leave the
details of some other thorny fiscal issues, like government
spending cuts, until January.
Graham urged Republicans to make a stand later when the time
comes for Congress to decide on raising the debt ceiling.
"This deal won't affect the debt situation, it will be a
political victory for the president and I hope we'll have the
courage of our convictions when it comes time to raise the debt
ceiling to fight for what we believe as Republicans, but hats
off to the president, he won," Graham said.
Lawmakers are seeking a last-minute deal that would set
aside $600 billion in tax increases and across-the-board
government spending cuts that are set to start within days. If
Congress does not act, the measures would likely push the United
States into a recession.
Senator Richard Durbin, a member of the Democratic
leadership, told the "Face the Nation" show on CBS that there
was still a "chasm" between the two parties in fiscal cliff
negotiations, but anything was possible when Congress faced a
Graham said that if the Senate was unable to come up with
the votes, it would be more difficult for any deal to get
through the House of Representatives.
"And I want to vote for it, even though I won't like it ...
because the country has got a lot at stake here," he said.