Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) warned Sunday that while congressional hopes remain high to reach an agreement on the so-called fiscal cliff, a deal is "not a certainty."
"Let me just join in the general hopefulness that we're going to avoid the fiscal cliff. But it's not a done deal and it's not a certainty," Lieberman said during an appearance on CNN's "State Of The Union" while discussing the looming fiscal situation. "The government is on automatic pilot to the fiscal cliff, to massive tax increases and really to the horrible spending cuts on January 1 unless we act. If Congress does nothing, which Congress has gotten pretty good at doing these days, we’ll go over the fiscal cliff."
Economists have warned that the combination of increased tax rates and across-the-board spending cuts set to go into effect on January 1 threaten to send the United States into a recession. While President Obama and members of Congress have entered negotiations to avoid the cliff, Republicans and Democrats have yet to reach an agreement.
Obama and congressional Democrats have pledged to let the Bush-era tax cuts for the country's top earners expire. While Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have signaled flexibility on adjusting deductions and closing loopholes, they have taken a firm stance against raising tax rates.
Lieberman, who will retire from the Senate after this term, stressed the need for flexibility as negotiations go forward.
"There's work to be done and compromises to be reached," he said.