Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama on Friday offered modest optimism that the White House and Republican lawmakers can reach a deal to prevent the U.S. economy from falling into a “fiscal cliff”, which could also potentially trigger a global economic crisis.
After Friday’s meeting with congressional leaders to negotiate an end to the gridlock, Obama then warned Washington politicians that they must act in order not to miss the Jan. 1 deadline.
The president’s statement presented a different tone from lawmakers’ suggestions earlier in the day that a deal may not be possible. In a nationally televised address, Obama said that immediate action is needed.
The president said that Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would both seek a compromise that would prevent middle income families from higher taxes that will automatically kick in starting Tuesday if no deal is reached.
Obama also said that should Congress fail to come up with an agreement before the deadline, he would allow a vote for a basic package preserving tax cuts for the middle-class and extending benefits for long-term joblessness while trying to work out a more comprehensive deal.
Should that happen, Republicans will be placed in a difficult political situation if they refuse to support a basic deal, allowing the White House to put the blame on them if the economy plunges into recession.