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New Year's Eve in D.C. Becomes More Likely for Congress

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
On the Sunday talk shows, Lieberman struck a pessimistic note, saying he expects Congress to spend New Year’s Eve working on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he could not support the president’s latest proposal, but said the GOP needed to accept that tax rates are going to go up whether Congress acts or not, so Republicans should accept some sort of compromise.

“He’s going to get tax rate hikes,” Graham said of Obama, while endorsing tax code reform and reforming deductions and loopholes. “To my Republican colleagues, if we can protect 99 percent of the American public from a tax hike, that’s not a tax increase in my book.”

Senate Democratic aides have insisted that at this juncture of negotiations, it’s the $250,000 tax rate level or bust, but other sources speculated late last week, as Isakson did Sunday, that Reid and McConnell could come to the table to try to wrangle some sort of deal to avert the cliff before the new year.

But all, regardless of chamber or party, acknowledged time is running short and seemed to believe no deal was more likely than a small deal.

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