Photo: President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama described himself as “moderately optimistic” after Friday’s talks with congressional leaders on a possible solution to the so-called fiscal cliff.
The president said that if a workable bipartisan plan fails to materialize within the next 24 hours, Reid will schedule a Senate vote on the current White House proposal.
That initiative would preserve tax cuts for the middle class, extend unemployment benefits and lay the groundwork for deficit reduction in the medium- and long term, the White House says.
An aide to Republican House Speaker John Boehner told CBS News that it is now up to the Senate to produce a bipartisan path toward avoiding the “cliff,” a combination of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin taking effect Jan. 1.
Some fear the impact of the tax hikes and lower government expenditures will undermine the economic recovery.
Republicans oppose Obama’s call for higher taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year - around five times the median family income - and instead demand bigger cuts in social programs.
“We’re dealing with big numbers and some of the stuff that we do is somewhat complicated. But I think it was a very positive meeting,” Sen. Reid said after the meeting with Obama.
“I share the view of the majority leader,” McConnell chimed in. “We had a good meeting down at the White House.”