President phones leaders to discuss 'cliff'
WASHINGTON The White House says President Barack Obama has made separate phone calls to congressional leaders to discuss the impending fiscal cliff.
A White House official says Obama called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi late Wednesday. The president made the calls before leaving his Hawaiian vacation for Washington, D.C.
The calls come amid little progress before the Dec. 31 deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff. Americans face major tax increases and spending cuts if Congress and the White House fail to reach a compromise by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Reid says the government appears headed over the so-called fiscal cliff because of a lack of progress in bipartisan negotiations.
The Nevada Democrat says it’s up to congressional Republicans to come up with a plan that both houses would pass and President Barack Obama would sign.
Reid says of missing the Dec. 31 deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff, quote: “it looks like that’s where we’re headed.”
Major tax hikes and spending cuts will hit most Americans if Congress and the White House don’t reach a compromise by the year’s end.
The U.S. Treasury Department will begin taking steps on Friday to delay hitting the government’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit on Dec. 31.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a letter Wednesday to congressional leaders that the department will use accounting measures to save approximately $200 billion. That could keep the government from reaching the limit for about two months.