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Blumenthal remains ‘encouraged’ US can avoid cliff

Speaking on CNN, Blumenthal was asked if he agreed with fellow Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) prediction that the nation is “going over the cliff.”

"I respectfully disagree. I am really encouraged that we can avoid this fiscal cliff for a number of reasons," Blumenthal said on "Starting Point."

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The Connecticut lawmaker said he saw the GOP shifting on taxes and believed that would lay the groundwork for a deal to avoid the upcoming spending cuts and tax-rate increases set to take effect in January.

“First of all, there is a growing group of Republicans who say we really need to raise revenue, not just talk about revenue, but also increase taxes on the wealthiest two percent, and they're willing to consider those kinds of taxes that the president's proposed so that middle-class Americans, the 98 percent, will not see any taxes increases,” he said.

Sen. Graham, speaking Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," said he thought it unlikely a deal would be crafted in time, slamming the initial White House offer in talks as a “political calculation.”

On Thursday Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner introduced the White House's opening bid, a measure that calls for $1.6 trillion in increased tax revenue and $400 billion in entitlement cuts. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio.) quickly panned the proposal as a “non-starter,” saying it did not do enough on entitlement reform. 

But Blumenthal on Monday defended the White House offer, and said it had strong support among business leaders.

He also cautioned that Republicans would need to offer more specifics about their proposals to successfully hammer out a deal. 

"There is going to be a give and take here," Blumenthal said. "There has to be — use the magic word — "compromise," and I'm hoping that some of the rhetoric may be a guise for the real negotiations that are happening behind the scenes."