OBAMA: 'I've Got The Pen, Ready To Sign The Bill, Right Away'

Barack Obama

Photo: AP

We’ve already heard from House Speaker John Boehner twice in the past three days on the looming fiscal cliff. Now it’s President Barack Obama’s turn.UPDATE: Obama confirms he has invited leaders of both parties to talk about the fiscal cliff next week.

“Our top priority has to be jobs and growth,” Obama says.

He repeats his pledge to work with both parties, but says “we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.”

“We have to combine spending cuts with revenue. That means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes,” Obama says.

He says he is not “wedded” to every aspect of his plan, and that he is open to compromise. But he quickly follows that by saying he is not open to compromise on the issue of raising taxes on upper-income Americans.

“This was a central question during the election. On Tuesday night, we found out the majority of Americans agree with my approach,” Obama says. “…That’s how you reduce the budget. With a balanced approach.”

Obama closed with a warning.

“Right now, if Congress fails to come to an agreement … everybody’s taxes will automatically go up. Everybody’s,” he says.

Obama says that all that’s needed is action from the House. 

“I’ve got the pen, ready to sign the bill, right away,” he said.


ORIGINAL: Obama will give a statement at 1:05 p.m., which the White House describes as one that will centre on “the action we need to take to keep our economy growing and reduce our deficit.” The statement will be Obama’s first public remarks since winning re-election on Tuesday.

The Associated Press is reporting that Obama has invited Congressional leaders to meet with him next week about a deal.

Obama seems prepared to fight on a deal with House Republicans if he doesn’t get what he wants — a freeze on middle-class taxes and a hike on incomes above $250,000. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that he’s set to “barnstorm” the country, making a plea to the American public instead of negotiating in Washington closed-door sessions.

Mark Knoller reports that the president will have “middle-class Americans” standing behind him as he makes his remarks.

Obama presser

Photo: White House

Here’s a full recap of Boehner’s press conference earlier.

Check back shortly after 1 p.m. for updates.

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