Obama: Fiscal Cliff Deal Is Close, “But It’s Not Done”

“Keep the pressure on — and let’s see if we can get this thing done,” Obama says.

Evan Vucci / AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced Monday afternoon that a deal to avert a middle class tax hike “is in sight, but it’s not done.”

Speaking from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House Complex before a group of “middle class Americans” Obama highlighted the progress that has been made in negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying that a deal is within reach by the end of the day, but that more action will be needed in the coming weeks and months.

“Keep the pressure on — and let’s see if we can get this thing done,” Obama said, adding, “They’re close — but they’re not there yet.”

But in a sign that a deal is close, an upbeat Obama took an early victory lap, noting that the draft proposals would raise tax rates for the rich, after weeks of Republicans saying they would not compromise on the issue.

“Obviously the agreement that is being discussed would raise those rates, and raise them permanently,” he said.

“There’s been progress, but we need to more,” Obama said, bemoaning Congress’ inability to agree to a grand bargain to reduce the deficit.

Looking ahead to the fight Republicans are pushing over raising the debt ceiling, Obama said revenues must be part of any future deficit agreement.

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