President Obama spoke separately with each of the four congressional leaders late Wednesday as the Senate prepared to return to Washington for a last-ditch attempt to prevent the nation from going over the "fiscal cliff."
White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said Obama made calls from Hawaii to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Obama was seeking an update on the state of fiscal cliff talks, Brundage said, before departing on a late-night flight back to Washington.
The White House provided no details about the conversations. The House is in recess pending action in Senate, and the Senate convened Thursday amid a sense of gloomy pessimism about chances for a deal to avert more than $500 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes set to hit in January.
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in a statement: :The Leader is happy to review what the President has in mind, but to date, the Senate Democrat majority has not put forward a plan. When they do, members on both sides of the aisle will review the legislation and make decisions on how best to proceed."