"Personally, I know we have to raise revenue; I don't really care which way we do it," Coburn said during an appearance on MSNBC. "Actually, I would rather see the rates go up than do it the other way, because it gives us greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future."
Coburn said that he believed both plans would ultimately hurt the economy, even though he would prefer for rates to go up if forced to choose.
"I think they're arguing over semantics. $800 billion is $800 billion, and it's still going to be a negative drag on the economy," Coburn said.
He also said he did not believe Republicans would offer additional revenues, saying a negative reaction from fiscal conservatives like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had drawn "a line in the sand" in the negotiations.
"I think it actually helps [House Speaker John] Boehner [R-Ohio] in his negotiations because he's drawn line in the sand for fiscal conservatives, and it draws a line in the sand for Boehner and the White House of 'This is as far as you can go,' " Coburn said.
The Oklahoma lawmaker went on to urge negotiators to take a serious look at both tax and entitlement reform, arguing both were necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the economy.
"It's going to be worse than we think if we don't have grown-ups stop thinking about politics and work out the best solution we can for the future of our country," Coburn said.