WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was blunt in his assessment Sunday of where negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff are headed. "I think we're going over the cliff," he said.
"It's pretty clear to me they've made a political calculation," the South Carolina senator said on CBS' "Face the Nation," calling the administration's initial proposal offered Thursday "a joke" when it comes to entitlement reform. Graham, like other Republicans, has said he's willing to accept new tax revenue, but only if it comes with significant changes to entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
A key sticking point, as well, is where that revenue will come from - from increasing tax rates on families making more than $250,000 a year as the White House wants, or from closing loopholes and eliminating some tax deductions as the Republicans prefer.
On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said there'd be no agreement without an increase in tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, and if that meant going over the fiscal cliff, Republicans would be to blame.
Graham defended his party: "My side knows we lost the election, and we're willing to put revenue on the table that will get some political heat for people like me. That is movement in a positive way. Republicans should do revenue. We're willing to do it in a smart way."
He went on to say that raising tax rates would raise less revenue than limiting deductions and would also hurt job creation.
He also reiterated the need to reform entitlements.
"One hundred percent of Americans are going to lose everything we know as America if we don't fix entitlements. We're becoming Greece because of out-of-control entitlement spending.... The president's plan does nothing but damn us to becoming Greece."