Obama says immediate action needed on fiscal cliff

Obama says immediate action needed on fiscal cliff

Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 28: U.S. President Barack Obama said he was 'modestly optimistic' while making a statement on fiscal cliff negotiations following a meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House December 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama and members of Congress continue to seek a solution to avert the possibility of large tax increases combined with deep spending cuts also known as the 'fiscal cliff'. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 28 at 8:11 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says "the hour for immediate action is here" on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

The president says he remains "optimistic" that an agreement can be reached in Congress before a looming year-end deadline to avoid tax increases and spending cuts.

If Congress can't reach a deal, the president says Congress should allow a vote on a basic package that would preserve tax cuts for middle-class Americans while extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and working toward a foundation for a broader deal.

The president says an hourlong meeting Friday with congressional leaders was "good and constructive."

Senate leaders say they hope to reach a compromise that could be presented to lawmakers by Sunday, little more than 24 hours before the deadline.
 

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