WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders are groping for a last-minute compromise to avoid middle-class tax increases and possibly prevent deep spending cuts at the dawn of the new year as President Barack Obama warned that failure could mean a "self-inflicted wound to the economy."
Obama chastised lawmakers in his weekly radio and Internet address for waiting until the last minute to try and avoid a "fiscal cliff." Yet he said there was still time for an agreement.
Senate Republicans say they're ready to compromise.
Even so, there's no guarantee of success.
In a blunt challenge to Republicans, Obama said that barring a bipartisan agreement, he expected both houses to vote on his own proposal to block tax increases on all but the wealthy and simultaneously preserve expiring unemployment benefits.
Following a White House meeting Friday among Obama and congressional leaders, aides to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid began racing against the clock for a bipartisan bargain. The leaders could present legislation to senators as early as Sunday, with a vote possible on Sunday or Monday.
133-w-34-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP correspondent, with President Obama and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo.)--It's a busy weekend on Capitol Hill as the fiscal cliff approaches. AP correspondent Sagar Meghani reports. (29 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *133 (12/29/12)>> 00:34
134-c-19-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP correspondent)-"rare post-Christmas sessions"-AP correspondent Sagar Meghani reports time is running short to reach a deal. (29 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *134 (12/29/12)>> 00:19 "rare post-Christmas sessions"
110-w-35-(Jackie Quinn, AP correspondent, with President Barack Obama, and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo.)--President Barack Obama and a Republican legislative leader are using their weekly radio addresses to urge a congressional compromise to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff." AP correspondent Jackie Quinn reports. ((opens with sound)) (29 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *110 (12/29/12)>> 00:35
073-a-15-(President Barack Obama, in weekly radio address)-"and deficit-reduction"-President Barack Obama, in his weekly radio address, says he thinks a deal can be reached to head off the automatic tax increases and spending cuts, but he's got a plan if lawmakers don't reach an agreement. (29 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *073 (12/29/12)>> 00:15 "and deficit-reduction"
075-a-10-(Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in Republican weekly radio address)-"debt under control"-Republican Senator Roy Blunt says Democratic Senate leaders have rejected a House measure that would have averted the "fiscal cliff." (29 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *075 (12/29/12)>> 00:10 "debt under control"