Obama calls on Congress to salvage fiscal cliff deal

Written by Press Trust of India | Washington | Updated: Dec 23 2012, 08:48am hrs
US president Barack Obama called the Congressin particular the opposition Republicansto salvage a fiscal cliff deal, that would preserve middle class tax cuts and avoid the imminent economic crisis if such a deal is not reached in the next 10 days.

Were only going to be able to do it together. Were going to have to find some common ground, Obama said in his address to the White House. In the absence of a resolution to the fiscal cliff, the United States could plunge into a deep economic crisis with increase in income tax rates for the middle class.

Theres a mismatch right now between how everybody else is thinking about these problemsDemocrats and Republicans outside of this townand how folks are operating here. And weve just got to get that aligned. But weve only got 10 days to do it, he said.

So I hope that every member of Congress is thinking about that. Nobody can get 100% of what they want. And this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn't. There are real-world consequences to what we do here, he said. Obama said he wants next year to be a year of strong economic growth. I want next year to be a year in which more jobs are created, and more businesses are started, and were making progress on all the challenges that we have out theresome of which, by the way, we don't have as much control over as we have in terms of just shaping a sensible budget, he said.

The US president said over the last few weeks he has been working with leaders of both parties on a proposal to get the deficit under control, avoid tax hikes on the middle class, and to make sure that they can spur jobs and economic growtha balanced proposal that cuts spending but also asks the wealthiest Americans to pay more; a proposal that will strengthen the middle class over the long haul and grow the economy over the long haul.

During the course of these negotiations, I offered to compromise with Republicans in Congress. I met them halfway on taxes, and I met them more than halfway on spending. And in terms of actual dollar amounts, were not that far apart, Obama said.

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.