Graham: 'I think we're going over the cliff'
December 2nd, 2012
12:46 PM ET
4 years ago

Graham: 'I think we're going over the cliff'

(CNN) - 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.

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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."

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Graham, another GOP attorney, not an Economist like Giethner, so Americans need not expect them to understand any budget proposals they're just there to make the argument like all attorneys. You wouldn't hire a gardner to cut your grass if he doesn't have a lawn cutter.

    December 2, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Kim

    Lindsey, what do you want to cut. Dems told you their thought, show us what you want now everyone can meet in the middle. Don't expect the Dems to do your dirty work of cutting programs that help our retirees, veterans, etc.

    December 2, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. FactCheck

    So you are proposing that the President accept the Romney tax plan, right? Oh good luck with that.

    December 2, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Old Timer

    Personally... I'd like to see ALL elected government officials limited to ONE four year term and the "center isle" be filled with chairs for the public. Abolishment of ALL political parties would also go a long way in bringing Washington to its knees. Get rid of the good ole boy networks, partisanship in all its meanings ... a good start!

    December 2, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Jerubbaal

    The repubs don't have a leg to stand on. They have been exposed for who and what they are, 2 percent protecting, pledge taking, whining sore losers. It kills them that the POTUS is beating them at every turn. They should have taken the deal offered last year, but they had to be greedy and thought that they yould take the Senate and the WH. Now they end up with less leverage and less of their agenda.

    December 2, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. jeff

    More of the same: whine about the president’s initial offer; the only offer thus far but, no counter offer. No negotiation. Is the president supposed to negotiate with himself? If you're so offended, counter with your own detailed Christmas wish list but, STOP WHINING! DO SOMETHING!

    December 2, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. thosewhoserve

    Of course the Republicans have a plan.

    1. Broaden the tax base by reducing and/or eliminating deduction that increase the taxable income subject to federal taxes by the middle class and retirees.
    2. Reduce outlays for Social Security by extending the eligibility age to begin receiving benefits and imposing means testing to reduce benefits.
    3. Reduce outlays for Medicare by extending the eligibility age to begin receiving benefits, imposing means testing to reduce benefitss, and increasing the premiums
    4. Make no changes to tax rates that affect the upper 2% of taxpayers.

    Result – the middle class and retirees continue to carry the upper 2%.

    December 2, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Pander Bear

    It's pretty simple Lindsey. Let the tax cuts for millionaires expire. Period. End of story. If we go over the cliff, it is all the GOP's fault – you are the ones who created it in the first place by playing chicken with Obama on the debt ceiling. Your craven political tactic backfired. You made your bed, have to lie in it, and are complaining that the President isn't fluffing your pillow.

    December 2, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Fred Fredericksen


    Negotiation does not consist of you giving up if you disagree with the other side's proposal.

    December 2, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Hillcrester

    Lindsay Loser has finally figured out the Prez isn't bluffing–the top tax rate WILL revert back to the pre-Bush level. And then the real negotiation will start. Expect nothing but hot air until January. Time to tell your GOP House member whether you want the (post-cliff) middle-class rates to STAY at pre-Bush levels; or do you want the Bush cuts reinstated (after they have reverted in January) at the "cost" of the higher rate for high incomes?

    December 2, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republican’s Christmas wish go over the fiscal cliff

    December 2, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. AK_steve

    I cannot believe that the GOP still tried to connect tax rates with job creation. There is no economic proof that this works. None. If tax cuts = jobs then George W would have created millions of jobs instead of killing the economy.

    The GOP lost the election and now seem to want to take it out on the whole country by bringing us to the brink of economic destruction and are already blaming it on the president.

    December 2, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. GOP = Greed Over People

    You may still hold the House, but only 17 votes are needed for a Dem majority and if they are smart, 17 GOPers will take the life preserver the President is offering, pass the Senate bill and take the tax increase off the table for the 98%, as the House GOP is not capable of passing a clean bill without some abortion amendments.

    So, take what is being offered, or face becoming a regional party representing the "fly over" states with more cows and corn than people, and the Deep South of the Stupid.

    Or not, instead commission a Rasmissen report saying how the GOP will NOT be blamed for going over the cliff, or consult with Rove and determine that Ohio was called too soon as the tsunami of reality washed over him and declare the President "stole the election".

    But who are we kidding, you GOPers would be better off just buying a vowel!

    December 2, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    Let 'er rip! Then Obama will have the legacy of being the total failing president.

    December 2, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. roro

    There are 100 senators in Congress. Why is it that Lindsey Graham and John McCain seem to be the main ones putting themselves out there with their negative comments and having their pictures taken? I'm so sick of McCain on every Sunday show spouting his spiteful rhetoric. Their egos must be enormous, and not deservedly so.

    December 2, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Lance D.

    Can the Liberal "New America" stomach a "Free Greek Lunch" ? - Guess it would depend on what "Hot Free Press" offers on the menu - Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" (unedited version of course)

    December 2, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Anthony

    Then the Bush tax cuts expire. No big deal. We get a much smaller deficit (641 billion, according to the CBO) as a bonus. After the Bush tax cuts expire, Obama should demand that Republicans pass a tax cut for people making under $250,000 a year. If Republicans refuse, Democrats will take over the House in 2014 and do it themselves.

    December 2, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. plain&simple

    Everything is the Presidents fault? Doesn't the House and Senate present the budget to the President for his signature? So present one,you haven't done crap in that direction. We are not stupid out here!

    December 2, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Steve

    Funny, these same clowns signed pledges to a lobbyist not to raise one dime in taxes, and now complain that the president is unreasonable.

    December 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Jules

    Get this – I think that tax loopholes and raising tax rates for the wealthy should be the order of the day for raising revenue. Anyone who takes a $77,000 tax deduction for a horse for one year is obviously abusing the system. Change the system so something like this can't happen.

    December 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. DJH

    Same old nonsense from the Republicans about raising taxes. I live here in SC and just so you know, Lindsey is up for re-election so he has to be a "no compromise" guy. Jim Demint, our other whack-nut Senator is undercutting Lindsey back here in SC every chance he gets. I've been a Republican for over 50 years and I'm just tired of these guys spewing the same old hate and nonsense.

    December 2, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Thinkergal

    The Repubs' idea of a "deal" remains the same - do it their way or no way. They will be blamed for going over the cliff because they ARE to blame. How childish of Graham to refer to serious proposals as a joke!

    December 2, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Asturiano

    Lindsey – Where are your proposals? Are you trying to hide the facts from the American people that you have NO plan?

    December 2, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. rodney

    the president needs to get off his high horse and work with everybody not just the dems.he is the reason we are in this mess.all he wants to do is tax the rich so he can spend more.he wants the rich to bail him outthats bull

    December 2, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. mgrgurich

    President Obama put an opening bid on the table. Instead of sitting on their hands and whining about it the GOP need to put a counter offer on the table so we can actually get to the part of negotiating. When President Obama put his bid on the table it means he will accept less than that in revenues and more than that in cuts on a final bill. This is an opening bid. Have you ever watched pawn stars? Obama is the guy selling an old musket asking for twice what it is worth as an opening bid. Now it's time for Boehner to say how about this and throw a number out there

    December 2, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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