Senate Republican aides said Friday that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, sounded out his Senate Republican colleagues Thursday on a plan to extend the expiring tax cuts for incomes under $250,000, while attaching some Republican priorities like low tax rates on capital gains, dividends and inherited estates.

Leadership aides emphasized that Mr. McConnell was not advocating any specific plan, nor was he saying that extending the middle-class tax cuts was the only option to resolve a potential fiscal crisis next month when hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases and automatic spending cuts are scheduled to kick in…

[W]ith time running out, the worst case is nearly here. Besides Mr. Cornyn and Mr. Burr, several other Republican senators — Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Bob Corker of Tennessee — have called for passing an extension of the middle-class rates now.