Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested a compromise Sunday for extending the Bush-era tax cuts: raise the ceiling from families making more than $250,000 a year to earners making over a million.
The Finance Committee member said that those making more than $1 million were the only group that had seen incomes go up substantially. He also argued that those top earners weren't likely to spend the savings realized from the tax cuts.
"I think that's a good compromise," Schumer said on CBS' "Face the Nation," adding that the plan would "include virtually all small businesses."
"Once we do that Americans will be on our side and Republicans will come around," he predicted.
On the same program, Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) maintained that all of the Bush tax cuts should be made permanent.
"I think the more permanent, the better," Paul said.
The extension of the tax cuts is expected to be the top issue on the table when Congress comes back for the lame-duck session this week.
Schumer said he felt the GOP will be willing to compromise -- not just on tax cuts, but on issues such as education, immigration and energy policy -- because "the middle class is not content and they are up for grabs."
The party and people who can focus on the middle class, he said, will have the majority in 2012.
That includes President Obama, he said. "I think he's going to surprise a lot of people with how strong he'll be down the road because I think he's going to focus on the middle class like a laser," Schumer said.