President Obama announced Monday afternoon that a deal to avert the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect at midnight on Jan. 1 was "within sight" but not yet complete.
"Today, it appears that an agreement to prevent this new year's tax hike is within sight. But it's not done," Obama said. "They are close, but they're not there yet."
In what the White House billed as an event with middle-class Americans, Obama said he had hoped for a larger bargain on the deficit. "But with this Congress that was obviously a little too much to hope for at this time," he added, to laughter from the crowd. The smaller deal currently being discussed, he said, would make sure taxes on the middle class do not go up while extending various tax cuts.
He predicted that lawmakers would not come to an agreement until the last possible second and urged his supporters to continue to pressure their representatives in support of a deal. "It looks like I'm going to spending new year's here," he said.