Congressional leaders and President Obama met this afternoon to restart negotiations on a way to avoid scheduled tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled to take place in the new year.
The President stated in an afternoon press briefing that he was 'modestly optimistic.' He also said that if Senate lawmakers cannot work out a deal than he has offered a scaled-back package that the Senate could present on the Floor for "a simple up or down vote."
According to House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) office, "The leaders spent the majority of the meeting discussing potential options and components for a plan that could pass both chambers of Congress." Boehner's office also stated that the "Speaker told the President that if the Senate amends the House-passed legislation and sends back a plan, the House will consider it - either by accepting or amending."
The group agreed that the next step should be the Senate taking bipartisan action.
On the Senate Floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) described the talks as "a very positive meeting."
No agreement has been reached yet on a way to block across-the-board tax increases and cuts to federal programs scheduled to take place in the new year.