(CNN) – While President Barack Obama said Wednesday he hopes to reach a deficit-reduction deal by Christmas, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas didn't sound too confident that such an agreement will be made by year's end, meaning many tax increases and spending cuts would automatically kick in at the start of 2013.
"I'm increasingly pessimistic, not optimistic, because the president seems to be campaigning rather than going anywhere and doing anything to get a deal," Cornyn said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront." "If we don't get a deal, it will hurt a lot of people."
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The Texas senator was referring to Obama's plan to take his fiscal cliff argument on the road Friday and use a campaign-style event to build support for his push to raise tax rates on the wealthy.
"My hope is to get this done before Christmas," Obama said Wednesday. "And I'll go anywhere and I'll do whatever it takes to get this done."
But Cornyn said the Democrat-backed plan to raise tax rates on high income earners would not generate enough revenue to solve the government's long-term deficit problem. The senator, who will act as the Senate's minority whip in the next Congress, argued that more spending cuts and entitlement reform should be on the table in the negotiations.
"It takes the president to provide the political cover for Democrats to fall in line," Cornyn said. "This is something the president has to do by himself, and he can't do it on the campaign trail."