Obama Says ‘Optimistic’ Fiscal Cliff Agreement Can Be Reached

Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House after meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss 'fiscal cliff' negotiations December 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. Close

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press in the Brady Press Briefing Room... Read More

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Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House after meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss 'fiscal cliff' negotiations December 28, 2012 in Washington, DC.

President Barack Obama said he’s “modestly optimistic” Congress can pass a bill to avert more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January.

“Let’s not miss this deadline,” Obama said at the White House, following a meeting with the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress.

“The American people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy,” he said. The Congressional Budget Office has said that if Congress doesn’t act, the tax and spending changes might cause a recession in the first half of 2013.

Obama said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky agreed to work on “a potential agreement.” If that can’t be done, he called for a vote on his plan that he outlined Dec. 21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at mtalev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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