Obama lands in Hawaii after urging Congress to 'cool off' on fiscal cliff
President Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii on Saturday, having issued a demand that squabbling congressional leaders "cool off" over the holidays and adopt stopgap measures to avert the year-end fiscal cliff.
In comments that signalled that the White House is coming to the conclusion that an overarching grand compromise is slipping from its grasp, Obama issued a statement tempering ambitions for a comprehensive deal to avert punitive tax rises and swingeing spending cuts.
The president said he remained "ready and willing" to put his name to such an agreement. But he conceded that with just days left to head off the automatic roll-out of fiscal measures that could plunge the US back into recession, the pressing need was to just get something on the table to avoid the pain of tax increases hitting every American family in the new year.
"In 10 days, we face a deadline. In 10 days, under current law, tax rates are scheduled to rise on most Americans. And even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us – every single one of us – agrees that tax rates shouldn't go up for the other 98% of Americans," Obama said in a statement.