WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS) — Top Congressional leaders met with President Obama at the White House on Friday trying to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in Jan. 1.
The President called the meeting “constructive,” but reminded lawmakers that there’s not much time left.
“We’re now at the point where, in just four days, every American’s tax rates are scheduled to go up by law,” said President Obama.
Watch President Obama’s Address:
Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell returned to the Senate floor, pledging to work through the weekend.
“We are engaged in discussions, the Majority Leader, myself and the White House, in the hopes that we come forward as early as Sunday and have a recommendation,” said Sen. McConnell.
“We’re gonna do the best we can for the caucuses we have, and the country that’s waiting for us to make a decision,” added Sen. Reid.
Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed to extend jobless benefits and some tax increases, but the income threshold is not yet clear.
The President and Senate leaders are expressing optimism they’ll get the job done. But the President has a backup plan just in case.
“If an agreement isn’t reached in time, between Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell, then I will urge Sen. Reid to bring to the floor a basic package for an up or down vote,” President Obama said.
That bare-bones bill would preserve tax cuts for the middle class and extend unemployment benefits. It would also lay a foundation for a broader deal to come.
Senate Majority Leader Reid warned that not everyone will like the deal, no matter what he and Sen. McConnell come up with.
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