Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., suggested on Sunday that Congress should allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of the year if Republicans are unwilling to budge on raising tax rates for the wealthiest Americans as part of a deal to resolve the pending budget cuts and tax increases known as the "fiscal cliff."
If the tax cuts expire, she said, Congress can reduce tax rates for those families making under $250,000 in the new year.
"If the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we'll start over next year," she said on ABC's This Week. "And whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this."
Later, she added, "Look, no one wants to go off the fiscal cliff. But a fair deal is absolutely critical here."
Murray, who is poised to become the Senate Budget Committee chairwoman and previously co-chaired of the so-called Supercommittee on deficit reduction, has taken a lead role in advocating a hard line on the fiscal cliff. This summer, she gave a widely noted speech suggesting Democrats would allow tax rates to rise and sequestration to occur if Republicans did not budge