Obama still Modestly Optimistic about a Fiscal Cliff Deal
President Barack Obama met with four top congressional leaders at the White House with regards to the fiscal cliff. After the meeting, the president said that he was modestly optimistic that a deal could be reached before the deadline.
In the news conference after the meeting with congressional leaders, President Obama described the meeting as good and constructive discussion about how to avoid the tax hike on the middle class. He said that he has seen this before and we should wait and see if a deal could be reached.
He warned Congress that they need to act fast. The president said that the American people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to the nation’s economy. The meeting was the first between the four leaders in weeks. It happened just after the president and Congress cut their Christmas vacations short to work on a last minute agreement to avoid the tax increases and federal spending cuts that could harm the economy.
The congressional leaders were more optimistic after they came out of the meeting. The Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have been asked to come up with a deal that is acceptable by Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described the meeting as constructive and positive. He indicated that a deal is within reach as soon as Senate goes back to work on Sunday. There are reports that the main issue is the income threshold that will see taxes increase. President Obama insisted that taxes increase for households earning more than $250,000. Republicans has rejected the offer. House Speaker John Boehner failed to pass a proposal that would increase taxes on those who earn more than $1 million. Democrats and Republicans can’t also agree on the extension of unemployment benefits that cost $94 billion in 2012.