The big powwow between President Obama and leaders of Congress has wrapped up with, surprise, surprise, no magical breakthrough on the fiscal cliff. But with four days to go before the deadline, there's apparently still hope. The New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, and the Hill have similar accounts of the big points from the meeting:
- Obama did not present a new offer. Instead, he renewed his push for a scaled-down deal that includes no tax hike for households making $250,000 or less.
- If his deal is unacceptable, he asked for an alternative that could pass both the House and Senate. (One compromise being floated is a deal that would raise the threshold from $250,000 to $400,000.)
- If no alternative emerges, he called for an up-or-down vote on his plan.
In a news briefing afterward, Obama called the meeting "constructive" and said he is "modestly optimistic" that Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell can reach a deal. "The American people are watching what we do here," he said. "Obviously, their patience is already thin. It's deja vu all over again." On the Senate floor, the polite diplo-speak continued: McConnell said he was "hopeful and optimistic," while Reid called the White House meeting "constructive," reports the LA Times.