Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Sunday he expected the "recipe" for a tax-cut compromise to included extensions of unemployment benefits and Bush-era tax rates for all income brackets.
Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation" with his Democratic counterpart, Dick DurbinDick Durbin McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe MORE (D-Ill.), Kyl accused leaders of "wasting a week" of going through political maneuvers such as the Saturday session called by Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (D-Nev.).
Schumer's bill included provisions such as a one-year extension of unemployment benefits and cuts in capital gains, estate and dividend taxes.
"I can tell you, without unemployment benefits being extended, personally, this is a non-starter," Durbin said, calling it "unconscionable" that some families would see their checks run out before Christmas.
Despite outstanding disagreements over which income brackets should get extensions and for how long, "In theory, I think an agreement could be reached in the near future," Kyl said.
Durbin, who pointed out that he would note vote for a permanent extension of cuts in the disputed income brackets, agreed that the Senate was "moving in that direction" of an agreement, but heavily stressed Democratic talking points of not extending the tax cuts to the wealthiest.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet The Press" to host David Gregory, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRepublicans at risk in 2018 steering clear of town halls GOP rep on Trump: 'God has used imperfect people to do great things before' McConnell: 'Winners make policy, losers go home' MORE (R-Ky.) said he believed a deal will be reached, but Sen. John KerryJohn KerryFormer Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP How dealmaker Trump can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict John Kerry to teach at Yale on global issues MORE (D-Mass.) blasted Republicans for pandering to the rich to the exclusion of the country's middle class. Both interviews had tense moments — pressed by Gregory on a statement made Saturday by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that the nine-year-old tax cuts have failed to stimulate the economy, McConnell bristled.
"This argument is over," he told Gregory. "You and I can continue to engage in it, but it's over. The Senate voted yesterday. Every Republican and five Democrats said, 'We're not raising taxes on anybody in the middle of a recession.' "
Kyl stressed the GOP argument that "in an economic downturn it's not a good idea" to raise anyone's tax rates.
The majority whip countered that the Republican position was to continue Bush economic policies that "utterly failed" and led the country into recession. "We are laser-focused on this jobs issue," Durbin said.
"Those tax rates ... did not create the problem that we have today," Kyl countered. "Without the taxes being where they are, the situation would have been much worse."
Durbin said the looming holiday break would motivate Congress into hammering out an agreement on the tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year.
"It's almost Christmas Eve," Kyl said. "I don't think anyone thinks we can leave this thing hanging."
—This story was updated at 12:20 p.m.