WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) used his "Fox News Sunday" appearance to congratulate President Barack Obama on his impending victory in the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations, predicting that tax rates will go up on people making more than $400,000 or $500,000 as a result of the coming Senate deal.
"Hats off to the president. He won," Graham said. "What have we accomplished? Political victory for the president. Hats off to the president. He stood his ground. He's going to get tax rate increases, maybe not at [$]250[,000], but on upper-income Americans. And the sad news for the country is we've accomplished very little in not becoming Greece or getting out of debt. This bill won't affect the debt situation."
But Graham said he won't support a package that raises rates on income between $250,000 and $400,000 or $500,000, because he knows Democrats will cave and accept a higher threshold. He used the example of his fellow guest, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
"No," he said when asked if he'd support the $250,000 level, "because she's willing to go for more, and why would I not find 4 or 500, because I know the votes are there for 4 or 500? But in the House, will the votes be there for 4 or 500?"
Feinstein flinched and, when pressed, put the onus back on the president, who was the first to raise the compromise level to income over $400,000. "We believe that the 250 threshold is the appropriate threshold. The president did make an offer, we understand, of 400,000, with a trillion in cuts accompanying it. That was turned down by the House," she said. "The time has come really to measure the absence of a deal against a deal. ... We have to solve this immediate situation."
Asked whether she'd accept the higher level, Feinstein was quick to answer. "I could certainly live with it," she said.
Graham, meanwhile, called the chances of a quick fiscal cliff deal "exceedingly good."
"I want to vote for it even though I won't like it," he said.