The bipartisan leadership of Congress sounded optimistic what they addressed reporters outside the entrance to the West Wing on Friday following their meeting with the president, vice president and members of the White House economic team. House Speaker John Boehner spoke first, calling the meeting "constructive" and vowing to keep additional revenue on the table:
We had a very constructive meeting with the president to talk about America's fiscal problem. I outlined a framework that deals with reforming our tax code and reforming our spending and I believe that the framework that I've outlined in our meeting today is consistent with the President's call for a fair and balanced approach. To show our seriousness, we've put revenue on the table, as long as it's accompanied by serious spending cuts. And while we're going to continue to have revenue on the table, it's going to be incumbent for my colleagues to show the American people that we're serious about cutting spending and solving our fiscal dilemma. Now I believe that we can do this and aver the fiscal cliff that's right in front of us today.
Next, Majority Leader Harry Reid stepped up to the the microphone. Using the common parlance of Washington D.C., Reid also called the meeting "constructive," repeatedly saying that he felt "very good" about what the leaders discussed, and promising not to wait until the last possible moment to get a deal done:
This isn't the first time that we've dealt with these issues. We feel we understand what the problem is and we've felt very – I feel very good about what we were able to talk about in there. We have the cornerstones of being able to work something out. We're both going to have to give up some of the things that we know are a problem. And so it's like when you arrive at a point where we all know something has to be done. There is no more 'let's do it some other time.' We're going to do it now and I think we feel very comfortable with each other and this isn't something we're going to wait until the last day of December to get it done. We have a plan. We're going to move forward on it. We're going to work during the Thanksgiving recess. We're going to meet with the president when we come back the first week – at least that's as I understand it. So I think it was a very constructive meeting. I feel very good about what we were able to talk about.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke next, emphasizing that her priority was to send a strong signal to consumers and the markets that the leaders are committed to finding a solution. Pelosi also acknowledged that if they aren't able to find a solution, the consequences could be severe: FULL POST
Today President Obama begins negotiations with congressional leaders on how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff – severe budget cuts and tax increases that are set to go into effect at the end of the year. House Speaker John Boehner, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will all come to the White House at 10:15 for a meeting with the president and the Vice President Biden in the Roosevelt Room. Later Obama and Biden will meet with civic organizations and other outside groups for yet another listening session on the potential impacts of going over the fiscal cliff.
There is no press briefing today. Here's the schedule as released by the White House: FULL POST