President Barack Obama is cutting short his Hawaiian holiday to leave for Washington on Wednesday to address the unfinished “fiscal cliff” negotiations with Congress, the White House said on Tuesday.
As the clock ticks toward a January 1 deadline, efforts to avert a sharp rise in taxes and deep spending cuts have stalled, worrying world financial markets.
Obama and congressional lawmakers left Washington on Friday for the Christmas holidays with talks to avert the fiscal disaster in limbo.
When Obama arrives back in Washington early on Thursday, the focus will shift to the US Senate after Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to pass their own budget measures last week.
The President will also need at least tacit approval from Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell to insure Republicans will permit passage of what is likely to be a stripped down bill that prevents taxes from rising on all Americans.
The measure may not, however, contain difficult spending cuts both parties had sought to speed deficit reduction. It is unclear how the president will seek to address the draconian across-the-board government spending reductions set to go into effect early in the year without a deal.
The next session of the Senate is set for Thursday, but the issues presented by the fiscal cliff - across-the-board tax increases and indiscriminate reductions in government spending - were not on the calendar.
Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii early on Saturday and have devoted their time to spending the Christmas holiday together. First Lady Michelle Obama and the couple’s two daughters are to remain in Hawaii.