President Obama officially pivoted from the campaign trail, to the daunting task facing him and the lame duck session of solving the nation's fiscal crisis. Our Washington Bureau reporter Erin Billups was at the White House on Friday for the President's address and has more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Friday, flanked by ordinary Americans, President Obama addressed the middle class, warning of the impending crisis known as the fiscal cliff: a combination of scheduled spending cuts and sharp tax increases that will be set in motion this January.
"I intend to deliver for them in my second term, and I expect to find willing partners in both parties to make that happen," said Obama.
Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner also urged compromise and an end to gridlock, the day after the election. But, while the tone may have become more conciliatory, on Friday Boehner reiterated his unwillingness to agree to the President's tax hikes on the wealthy.
"Raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create jobs that everyone says they want," said Boehner.
However, the President is also sending mixed messages, drawing his own line in the sand.
"I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan. I’m open to compromise, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced."
Responding to the public's call for compromise and leadership, the President has invited both Democrat and Republican congressional leaders to the White House to begin tackling the fiscal crisis.
While reforming the tax code and finding ways to avert massive cuts to military and domestic spending will take significant compromise, the President said part of the problem could be solved right away, asking House Republicans to pass a Senate bill extending tax breaks for those making less than $250,000 per year.
"I’ve got the pen ready to sign the bill right away. I'm ready to do it," said Obama.
A huge challenge will be rank and file republicans that have signed pledges not to raise taxes.
A congressional Budget Office report out this week highlighted the need for short and long term solutions to the fiscal crisis, saying if nothing is done we could see another recession and a jump in unemployment.