- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two top Republican senators were confident Sunday that Congress will extend Bush-era tax rates, perhaps by this week.

“I’m optimistic it’ll come together,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s pretty clear taxes are not going up on anybody in the middle of this recession.”

He also said he would prefer a permanent extension of existing tax rates for all Americans.

“I think an agreement could be reached in the near future,” Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, who was a top GOP negotiator on the issue, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Mr. Kyl said such an agreement could be reached by “this week.”

However, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said Sunday, “I’m not voting for any permanent tax cuts for anybody in the highest” income levels.

Mr. Kyl also said extending unemployment benefits could be included in legislation voted on during the lame-duck session, which ends at Christmas break.