In remarks from the Old Executive Office Building on the heels of a meeting with Congressional leaders, President Obama announced that he has dispatched Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew to lead negotiations with both parties on a potential tax cut compromise.
Obama said the meeting revealed a “broad agreement” among Republicans and Democrats about the need to stop middle-class tax hikes before the end of year, but that the sides still disagree on extending current rates for higher-earners, which the president called “unwise.”
Still, Obama said “there must be some sensible common ground” and that he instructed Geithner and Lew to help find it and “break through this logjam.”
Obama said he expects negotiations to begin immediately and to yield results within a “couple of days.”
Obama also mentioned a fiscally “responsible” bill to fund the government through the end of the year, and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits in the same breath as priorities for the lame duck. The president also reiterated his desire to see New START ratified before the 112th Congress is seated.