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Sen. Graham: ‘We’re going over the cliff’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed pessimism over talks to reach a deficit-reduction deal, saying the he believes the nation is “going over the cliff.”

“I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation,” said Graham on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” dismissing the initial White House proposal to help the nation avoid the looming “fiscal cliff” of automatic spending cuts and tax rate rises.

“This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls,” he added.

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Graham, who has said he would back a plan to raise new tax revenues in a deal, said the administration had failed to seriously take up entitlement reform to match GOP concessions. 

“But I’ll only do that if we do entitlement reform, and the president’s plan when it comes to entitlement reform is just, quite frankly a joke,” said Graham.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Geithner presented lawmakers with the initial administration offer, which included $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to entitlement spending.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) quickly rejected the plan saying the White House and not done enough to cut spending or reform entitlements.

On Sunday, he said he was “flabbergasted” when he saw the proposal. 

The White House “has responded with virtually nothing, they’ve actually asked for more revenue than they’ve been asking for the whole time,” Boehner said.

Geithner on Sunday, though, defended the White House offer and said the GOP needed to make the next move and place a detailed proposal on the table. 

“I think right now, the best thing to do is for them to come to us and say, look, here's what we think makes sense,” said Geithner. “What we can't do is try to figure out what's going to be good for them. They have to come tell us.”