WASHINGTON (December 21, 2012)--President Barack Obama told reporters Friday evening he is "ready and willing" to get a big package done to deal with the "fiscal cliff" and says there's no reason not to protect middle-class Americans from tax increases.
Mr. Obama said he spoke Friday with House Speaker John Boehner and met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and said Congress should pass a plan to extend tax breaks for the middle class and extend unemployment benefits.
Mr. Obama says nobody can get 100 percent of what they want and said there are "real consequences" to how they deal with the across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts scheduled to kick in Jan. 1.
“As of today, I am still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done. I still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our economy and the confidence of our businesses. I remain committed to working towards that goal, whether it happens all at once or whether it happens in several different steps,” he said.
Economists fear the combination could deliver a blow to the U.S. economy.
Lawmakers have headed home for Christmas and the first family was heading to Hawaii for the holidays.