For the first time since the elections, Congressional leaders from both parties visited the White House to meet with Pres. Obama and begin discussions on the "fiscal cliff," Friday.
President Obama made a statement to the press as the meeting got underway, saying that he hoped the parties could "cooperate together, work together, find some common ground." The people "want to see that we are focused on them," he said.
Following the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) addressed reporters outside the West Wing. He said the meeting was productive and that he allowed that additional revenue could be on the table as long as it was accompanied by spending cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that congress had a plan, and would not be waiting until the last week in December to accomplish the task. He said that the leadership hoped to meet with the President the week after Thanksgiving.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also said that they feel confident that progress had been made and that they were prepared to put revenue on the table.
At a press conference shortly after the elections, Speaker Boehner gave a statement on the "fiscal cliff" and called for "the need for both parties to find common ground." The following day, Rep. Boehner told the press that he rejected Obama’s push for the House to pass a Senate bill on tax cuts.
More than $600 billion in tax hikes and budgetary cuts are set to go into effect on Jan. 1 if the White House and lawmakers don't come to terms and strike a deal.
The president leaves Washington Saturday on a four-day trip to Asia.