President Obama met with congressional leaders today at the White House to discuss how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that would involve sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts. Lawmakers who talked to reporters afterward outside the West Wing agreed on the urgency of the situation but stuck to their partisan talking points about how to address it.
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) emphasized the need to reduce spending, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cautioned against cuts in "investments."
If congressional leaders fail to reach a compromise, they can allow the fiscal cliff deadline to pass and then quickly try to approve legislation reinstating tax cuts for the middle class and pulling back on spending cuts.
"We're going to work during the Thanksgiving recess" to reach a solution, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, suggesting that he does not intend to wait for the deadline to pass.
McConnell said Republican leaders "are prepared to put revenue on the table, provided we fix the real problem." He added: "Most of my members, I think without exception, believe that we're in the dilemma we're in not because we taxed too little but because we spent too much."