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Top Senate Republican Says Lame Duck Solutions Unlikely

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Go forth and lobby: Alexander enlists retailers on tax measure.(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

What was once shaping up to be an epic lame duck session chock full of tough decisions is increasingly looking like another kick-the-can-down-the-road show as lawmakers acknowledge that the nation's fiscal problems can't be solved in a couple of weeks.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander told the Alley Thursday that Congress will need to use the lame duck to create a window next year in which to deal with the fiscal cliff.

"There's no practical way in my judgement to take all the issues from Bush tax cuts, to the tax reform to the sequestration all these issues (and) deal with them in three or four weeks. But we could create a window that produces a result," he said.

About 60 senators are actively engaged in discussions over the fiscal cliff with 10 or 15 in serious talks, he said. And he signaled that the GOP may be ready to wheel and deal.

"Almost every Republican leader I know in the Congress has made it clear that while they don't think we need more revenues that if the Democrats are willing to restructure entitlements, they're willing to provide new revenues," he said.

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