U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on fiscal cliff negotiations at the White House in Washington Dec. 28, 2012. Obama called Friday on U.S. lawmakers to take "immediate actions" to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff, saying he had a "good and constructive" conversation with congressional leaders. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Friday called on U.S. lawmakers to take "immediate action" to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff" and spur the economic growth.
Obama struck an optimistic tone at a press conference at the White House after an hour-long meeting with congressional leaders, saying he had a "good and constructive" conversation with these key players in tackling the fiscal challenge.
Obama Friday hosted bipartisan leadership of the Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the first time that Obama met these four congressional leaders to discuss the "fiscal cliff" since November.
"The hour for immediate action is here. It is now," stressed Obama, adding that "fortunately, Congress can prevent it from happening if they act right now."
Obama said he was "modestly optimistic" about a possible plan to avert the looming tax hike and government spending outlays cuts, adding that the negotiation deadlock has begun to dampen U.S. business investment and consumption mood.
"The housing market is recovering, but that could be impacted if folks are seeing smaller paychecks. The unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since 2008, but already you're seeing businesses and consumers starting to hold back because of the dysfunction that they see in Washington," he added.
Reid and McConnell were working on a possible solution to the high-stakes "fiscal cliff." If they could not find a viable plan, he would ask for a vote on his own proposal, Obama told reporters.
Obama last week called on Congress to pass a pared-down deficit reduction plan of extending the current tax rates for all but the rich with annual income above 250,000 U.S. dollars and extending the nation's unemployment benefits for 2 million people, following the failure of his grand bargain talk with Boehner.
"The American people are watching what we do here. Obviously, their patience is already thin," Obama warned.
Unless U.S. Congress acts by the end of the year, a combination of tax increases and sweeping spending cuts totaling about 600 billion dollars will kick in, the effects of which could thrust the economy back into recession.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama discussed with top congressional leaders in the White House to find possible solutions to the so-called "fiscal cliff" on Friday afternoon, their last-ditch effort to avert the massive tax increases and steep government spending cuts starting on Jan. 1.
Obama hosted the bipartisan leadership of the Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the White House said. Full story
BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The US House of Representatives will convene in Washington on Sunday for last-ditch "fiscal cliff" talks. They’re hoping to find an agreement that will prevent automatic tax rises and spending cuts coming into force on January 1st.
The House has been in recess since a week ago, amid the continued deadlock. The top Democrat in the US Senate, Harry Reid, has warned that a deal may not be reached. President Obama and the democrats are urging Republicans to finally get behind a Senate bill extending existing tax cuts for all, except the very wealthy. Full story