Lisa Murkowski: Fiscal Cliff Negotiations 'Pretty Grim'

Dec 13, 2012 | Updated Dec 13, 2012

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she's still hopeful despite the "pretty grim" fiscal cliff negotiations.

“It’s a little discouraging around here, but I am reminded that we have been in situations -- last year -- we thought we were going to be stuck here over Christmas and a logjam broke loose,” Murkowski told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “It's amazing how things can happen pretty quickly once a deal has been made, but at this point in time, it’s a pretty grim attitude.”

Murkowski has urged other Republicans to consider raising taxes on the wealthy as a solution to the fiscal cliff problem. A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll released Wednesday shows she's not the only conservative considering that solution -- three-quarters of those surveyed, including 61 percent of Republicans, said they would accept raising taxes on the wealthy, according to Reuters.

“I have been suggesting for a period of time now that I think it is worth a discussion, consideration, to look at the highest earners,” Murkowski said.

Despite the growing number of Republicans considering alternative fiscal cliff solutions, there's still a major divide causing problems amid the negotiations. The AP reports:

Republicans still aren't budging on Obama's demands for higher tax rates on upper bracket earners, despite the president's convincing election victory and opinion polls showing support for the idea.

Democrats in turn are now resisting steps, such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare, that they were willing to consider just a year and a half ago, when Obama's chief Republican adversary, House Speaker John Boehner, was in a better tactical position.

With less than three weeks before the government could careen off a "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts, Boehner, R-Ohio, said "serious differences" remain between him and Obama after an exchange of offers and a pair of conversations this week.

CORRECTION: This article has been fixed to reflect that Murkowski is from Alaska.

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