President Obama cut short his vacation in Hawaii in order to get back to Washington in an effort to reach a deal that would avert the country's falling off of the "fiscal cliff" on January 1st.
The President left Hawaii on Wednesday night and arrived back in Washington on Thursday.
The United States Senate also convened today to attempt to come up with a plan that could pass with the House Republicans, who continue with their Christmas Break. House members say that they can be back in Washington in 48 hours if need be, but with the “Fiscal Cliff” looming just four days away, it hardly gives time to come up with a solution.
Talks between House Speaker Boehner and President Obama broke down last week. Then, before Christmas Break, Boehner was unable to put together enough supporters to pass a compromise that would only raise taxes on earners making more than $1 million. Boehner called on the United States Senate on Wednesday to come up with a long-term deficit Reduction package that could pass the House to avert the fiscal crisis.
The president phoned the four leaders of Congress just prior to leaving Hawaii for an update to the “Fiscal Cliff” crisis. The calls went separately to House Speaker Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mich McConnell.
Senator Scott Brown said on Twitter and Facebook that the president is offering a proposal to the Senate, but an Aide to Senate Leader Reid denied that any legislation is ready to move. Reid said earlier today that it would be unlikely that Congress and the Whitehouse would reach a deal before the first of the new year.
It was also reported by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that the Debt Ceiling would also reach its limit of $16.4 trillion on December 31st which is next Monday. The government cannot borrow above that limit to avoid default.
The President is beginning to face pressure as well to intervene in the talks between the Longshoreman’s Union and the U.S. Maritime Alliance that has already had Federal mediators pushing for a deal before the December 29th deadline in two days. With the talks broke down the chances of a walkout are beginning to grow. A walkout by the Longshoreman’s Union would be the first in the Gulf region and on the East Coast since 1977.
A strike could cause additional damage to an already unsteady and weak economy. The National Retail Federation already wants Obama to utilize the Taft-Hartley Act to break any strike that occurs to avert any economical damage. The Taft-Hartley Act was last used in 2002 to end a 10-day walkout on the West Coast ports.