President Obama is cutting his vacation short, leaving Hawaii tonight to return to Washington and address the looming “fiscal cliff,” the White House announced.
The president has been vacationing in Hawaii with his family since Shabbos. The first lady and their daughters will remain in the state.
Obama and lawmakers are under pressure to craft a deficit-reduction package to avoid a set of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts taking effect in 2013. But negotiations are at an impasse with little time until the year-end deadline. Both the House and Senate are also slated to return to work in Washington on Thursday.
Obama on Friday urged GOP lawmakers to return to the table and consider a smaller package focused on extending middle class tax rates, extending unemployment insurance and laying a framework for future deficit reduction.
“That’s an achievable goal that can get done in 10 days,” he told reporters.
The president expressed hope that the holidays would help both sides “cool off” and resume talks. “As we leave town for a few days to be with our families, it will give us some perspective,” Obama said.