Corker says most people won't start new year with new taxes - WKRN News 2

Senator Corker says most people won't start new year with new taxes


Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee sought to assure Americans on Sunday over the looming fiscal cliff.

In an interview with CNN, Senator Corker said "there's no question" that Congress will reach some kind of deal "in the next few days or in the next few weeks."

The Senate reconvened on Sunday as leaders and aides worked to hash out a fiscal cliff deal that will pass in both chambers of Congress. One of the main sticking points is a disagreement over who should pay higher tax rates in order to generate more revenue.

While President Obama has called for tax increases on incomes above $250,000, discussions have involved the possibility of raising that figure to a $400,000 threshold, along with a push to keep estate taxes low. Democrats have said they might be open to one such scenario, but not both.

Senator Corker, who earlier this month was among the first in his party to support a tax rate increase for the wealthy as part of a deal, said he doubts any compromise will include the $250,000 figure.

"My guess is we're going to be ... at least $500,000," he said "My guess is it's going to happen and it's going to pass."

And though it may pass, Senator Corker joined many Republicans in saying that the fiscal debate has lacked serious discussion about "real reductions," such as entitlement reform. "I think that is totally irresponsible."

"We're going to deal with this tax issue," he continued. "We're going to deal with it either before midnight tomorrow or in the next couple of weeks, but nobody in the country - 99%, 98% of the people in the country should not be worried about revenues. But what they should be worried about is we still haven't tackled the issue of fiscal solvency."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked Vice President Joe Biden to become involved in a last-minute effort to avert tax increases on virtually every worker. Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid acknowledged McConnell had made an offer last night but said "at this point we are unable to make a counter-offer."

The public exchange between the top negotiators on averting the so-called fiscal cliff injected a note of pessimism little more than 24 hours before taxes are set to go up.

Democrats said the Republican proposal called for changing the formula for calculating Social Security benefits increases.

Senator McConnell said there is no single issue blocking an agreement but that "the sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest, or courage to close the deal."

Nashville's News 2 also talked with Tennessee House Representatives about the fiscal cliff and what they're hearing from constituents.

CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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