Sen. Bob Corker said he was still confident a deal could be reached to avoid the impending, so-called "fiscal cliff" during an appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Described by show host David Gregory as "calling for compromise," Corker appeared alongside his colleague and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- Mo.
During the segment, the senator, who recently put his own 242-page deficit reduction plan forward, emphasized his preference for increasing tax revenues through methods other than raising tax rates on the nation's wealthiest earners.
"Well, you can get there in two ways," Corker said. "One of the ways is the way I propose, which is closing loopholes; that's a pro-growth way of getting more revenues from wealthy Americans, and, I think, David, before this is all over with, there's a lot of machinations—there's capital gains, there's dividends, there's all kinds of ways [of] looking at this, and I think cooler heads will prevail. I think we will resolve this, and that's the very best thing we can do to get our economy going."
Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, also repeatedly said that reforming entitlements—specifically Medicare—would be a necessary component for achieving a significant deal before a Jan. 1 deadline. At year's end, a mix of tax increases and automatic spending cuts is set to go into effect and could spiral the economy back toward another recession, according to economic forecasters.
"What [the Obama administration] hasn't done is anything to deal with entitlements, which is painful," he said. "And you're not going to have a deal until that happens."
Corker's plan, called the Fiscal Reform Act of 2012, calls for $641 billion in spending reductions to Medicare. The senator argues that the amount could be achieved by gradually raising the program's eligibility age to 67 and allowing seniors to opt for privately offered medical programs as an alternative to the government system.
Pressed by Gregory to reconcile his calls for entitlement reform with an attack ad leveled by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney against President Barack Obama and his proposals for cuts to Medicare spending during the recent campaign, Corker said that although entitlement reform should remain a serious topic in negations surrounding the cliff, he was not on board with Romney's ad.
"I actually agree that the ad was not the kind of ad that I would run," he said.
Corker also offered brief comments on Obama's forthcoming nomination for secretary of state, predicting the president would not pick U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
Having met with Rice last week, Corker will play a key role in weighing the president's nomination for the position next year, as he is presumed to become the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"I don't think [Rice] is going to be nominated. I've told people certainly I will give her a fair hearing," he said. "I do think the underlying issue here is people have seen her far more as a political operative and not a principal. I think that's what the White House is witnessing right now."
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