WASHINGTON- Sen. Bob Corker is speaking out about ongoing negotiations and the fiscal cliff. Sunday morning, Corker appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and suggested he and other GOP senators would consider raising taxes on the wealthy if it meant reforming big entitlement programs such as Medicare.
"All of a sudden, once you give him the right on the top two percent, it's actually much lesser tax increase than what he has been talking about, said Corker. "The focus then shifts to entitlements and maybe it puts us in a place where we actually can do something that really saves the nation."
Corker went on to say he does believe an agreement will be made before the end of the year. The senator from Tennessee is regarded as a fiscal conservative and has been gaining stature in the Senate as a pragmatic deal broker. His comments put new pressure on House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders to rethink their long-held assertion that even the very rich shouldn't see their rates go up next year.
GOP leaders have argued that the revenue gained by hiking the top two tax rates would be trivial to the deficit, and that any tax hike hurts job creation.
Meanwhile, administration officials say President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met Sunday at the White House to discuss the ongoing negotiations over the impeding "fiscal cliff." Spokesmen for both Obama and Boehner said the two men agreed to not release details of the conversation, but emphasized that the lines of communication remain open.
The meeting comes as the White House and Congress try to break an impasse over finding a way to stop a combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to kick in at the beginning of the year.