The incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee said Tuesday that a permanent extension of the expiring Bush-era tax cuts is highly unlikely to happen during the lame-duck session of Congress.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said that some sort of compromise is in order, such as a temporary extension of one or two years.
The lawmaker's comments could be a sign that a compromise between Democrats and Republicans in Congress is close. The debate over what to do with the tax cuts, which are set to expire Jan. 1, is expected to dominate the lame-duck session that began Monday.
Leaders in both parties have failed to budge on the issue: Most Republican leaders have demanded a permanent extension of all the tax cuts for both high-income earners and the middle class.
Top Democrats have sought an extension for the middle-class cuts but want to allow the breaks for individuals earning above $200,000 annually and families making more than $250,000 a year to end.
But White House senior adviser David Axelrod last week signaled that wiggle-room exists when he suggested that Obama could be open to a temporary extension of all the cuts.
A number of compromise options have been put on the table, such as "de-coupling" the cuts to permanently extend the middle-class provisions while temporarily renewing them for the wealthy.
Other options include a temporary extension of all the cuts and raising the amount of income that would put an individual or family in the upper-income bracket, then letting those cuts expire.
Ryan said a temporary extension of all the cuts is most likely.
"Well, obviously the president's not going to accept permanents," Ryan said. "I think he will accept not decoupling the tax cuts, meaning some permanent, some temporary. So I think all of them will be moving forward temporary."
—This post was updated at 11:25 a.m.