Republicans, Democrats emerge 'unified' for first time after opening round of 'fiscal cliff' talks with Obama
After a brutally divisive presidential campaign and two years of rancor over the federal budget, Republican and Democratic leaders met for the first time and pledged for a fast and far-reaching action to tame the public debt and avoid economy-shaking tax hikes that are set to hit in January 2013.
In a display of bipartisanship unseen since the GOP captured the House in 2010, the nation's leaders met for more than an hour with President Barck Obama at the White House, and emerged unified, with a message of reassurance for nervous taxpayers and investors, though intense haggling over the shape of a deal is yet to come.
"I feel very good about what we were able to talk about in there. We all know something has to be done. There is no more 'Let's do it some other time.' We're going to do it now," The Washington Post quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), as saying, as he stood with Republicans John A. Boehner, the House speaker, and Mitch McConnell.
According to the paper, the usually sharp-tongued McConnell even praised Obama for his upcoming trip to Southeast Asia.
"I can only echo the observations of the other leaders, that it was a constructive meeting. We all understand where we are," McConnell said.
Major details, including the overall scope of a debt-reduction package, still have to be worked out, the paper said.
But the leaders expressed optimism about reaching an accord before the cliff hits in January and dispatched staffers to draft a debt-reduction framework to present to Obama after the Thanksgiving break, the paper added.