Sen. Graham on fiscal cliff: ‘Hats off to the president. He won’

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, December 30, 2012 12:39 EDT
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
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After a year of deadlocked negotiations, at least one prominent Republican senator is willing to concede defeat.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) acknowledged that President Obama had stuck to his guns and would emerge from the debt talks victorious. Predicting that tax rates would rise on incomes over $400,000-$500,000, Graham said Obama had achieved his biggest goal of keeping tax rates down for the middle class while allowing them to revert to Clinton-era levels for wealthier Americans.

“What have we accomplished? Political victory for the president. Hats off to the president,” he said. “He stood his ground. He’s going to get tax rate increases, maybe not at [$250,000] but on upper-income Americans.”

Graham’s remarks came on the same day that the president, in an appearance on Meet the Press, accused Republicans of refusing to compromise and for bringing the nation to the brink of the fiscal cliff. The biggest sticking point in the ongoing talks has been what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts, with Republicans demanding they all be extended, and Democrats offering to extend them up to a certain income threshold.

In the interview, Graham also said he thought the odds of both sides agreeing to some sort of deal in the 48 hours remaining before January’s  fiscal cliff deadline were, “exceedingly good.” Obama cut his holiday vacation short last week to return to Washington and meet with party leaders to work on a final compromise.

“I want to vote for it even if I don’t like it,” Graham said of a deal that would raise taxes.

Watch the interview below:

Jonathan Terbush
Jonathan Terbush
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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