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Fiscal Cliff: Nothing New From Friday’s Meeting

Max Schwartz |
December 28, 2012 | 9:43 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

President Obama in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room (Pete Welsch/Creative Commons)
President Obama in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room (Pete Welsch/Creative Commons)
President Barack Obama spent part of his first day back in Washington in a meeting with Congressional leaders.

The ultimate result from this meeting is nothing.

That is correct, a deal was not reached in today’s meeting that included the vice president, Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, and Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The difference between this meeting and the last meeting between the leaders, however, is that the matter is now more urgent than before. Failure to come to an agreement will trigger billions in across-the-board cuts and tax increases -- from slashes to the defense budget to a hike in the estate tax from 35 to 55 percent -- that economists worry could throw a shaky economy back into recession.

President Obama spent five minutes of his first day back from vacation doing the same thing he did before he left for Hawaii -- delivering a speech. 

While at the podium, the president stressed the urgency behind the matter and that now is the time to pass legislation. 

“The hour for immediate action is here now," said Obama. "It is now.” 

He emphasized that he wanted legislation that would prevent a tax increase for people making less than $250,000 passed right away, because it is something both parties want.

“I just had a good and constructive discussion…with Senate and House leadership about how to prevent this tax hike on the middle class…” said Obama.

Yet from his language, Obama appeared frustrated with the lack of Congressional action on an issue of such national importance. 

“America wonders why it is that in this town, for some reason, you can’t get stuff done in an organized timetable," said Obama, "why everything always has to wait until the last minute.”

In his speech, the president also expressed concerns over blocking votes.

“If members of the House or the Senate want to vote no, they can," said Obama, "but we should let everybody vote.”

The deadline for completing a deal is New Year’s Eve, which is now only three days away. 

Reach Staff Reporter Max Schwartz here; follow him on Twitter here.



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