(CNN) - Another Republican senator said Sunday he'd support raising tax rates on wealthy Americans as part of a deal to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said if Republicans agree to raising rates on the top 2% of American earners, they will be better positioned to negotiate for larger spending cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which many Democrats oppose.
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"There is a growing group of folks that are looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards on the tax issue before year end," Corker said on "Fox News Sunday."
"A lot of people are putting forth a theory, and I actually think it has merit, where you go ahead and give the president the 2% increase that he is talking about, the rate increase on the top 2%, and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements."
Corker follows fellow Republican Sens. Tom Coburn, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe in supporting an increase in tax rates for wealthy Americans. Collins and Snowe both said last week they would only support such a hike if a caveat is included that would protect small-business owners who include their business income on their personal tax returns.
Coburn reiterated his position Sunday, saying on ABC's "This Week" he would "accept a tax increase as a part of a deal to actually solve our problems."
But the Oklahoma Republican said the real negotiating should be taking place between the president and bondholders in China who he said would "determine what we'll spend and what we won't."
"It doesn't really matter what happens at the end of this year," Coburn said, predicting that the United States was already on track for another credit rating downgrade because of the political haggling over a debt reduction deal.
"The fact is we're spending money that we don't have on things that we don't absolutely need, and there are no grown-ups in Washington that will say, 'Time out, stop the politics, let's have a compromise' rather than continue to play the game through the press and hurt the country," he said.
Principal negotiations on avoiding the fiscal cliff are largely between the White House and House Speaker John Boehner, who leads the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Democrats control the Senate.