The president says he's optimistic leaders can make a deal in 10 days.
Responding to House Speaker John Boehner's attempt to shift to President Obama responsibility for yanking the nation away from the edge of the fiscal cliff, the president set a deadline for congressional leaders to negotiate a deal.
Obama said that after speaking with Boehner and meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Friday, he's asked them to craft "a package that prevents a tax hike on middle class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. That's an achievable goal that can get done in 10 days."
Once that stage has been completed, he said, he expects House and Senate lawmakers to return to Congress to vote on the measure so he can sign a bill before Jan. 1, when everyone's taxes are expected to increase.
"It's that simple," Obama said.
He also suggested that the brief time spent back home will provide them a cooling off period during which they can think about how their actions affect the people who sent them to Washington.
Many Americans certainly have and there's no question who will be blamed if the two sides are unable to reach an accord. In a new CNN/ORC International poll released Dec. 20, 53 percent said the GOP's policies are too extreme, up 17 points from two years ago. Only 37 percent said the same of the Democratic Party.
BET Politics - Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)