President Barack Obama speaks as first lady Michelle Obama listens during a visit with members of the military and their families in Anderson Hall at Marine Corp Base Hawaii, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The first family is in Hawaii for a holiday vacation.
President Barack Obama is cutting short his traditional Christmas
holiday in Hawaii to return to Washington as lawmakers consider how to
prevent the economy from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, the
White House said Tuesday.
Obama will fly back to the
nation's capital Wednesday night, just five days after arriving in
Hawaii, White House officials said. In the past, the president's
end-of-the-year holiday in his native state has stretched into the new
Congress is expected to return to Washington on
Thursday. Automatic budget cuts and tax increases are set to begin in
January. So far, the president and congressional Republicans have been
unable to reach agreement on any alternatives.
CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reported earlier
Tuesday that the president will likely put pressure on Congress to pass
a Democratic plan being drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
still have been no conversations between Democrats and Republicans
Tuesday on how to avert the fiscal cliff," Cordes reported from Hawaii.
"That's a sure sign that Reid is working on crafting legislation on his
own, which he'd essentially dare Republicans in the House and Senate to
pass just before the deadline."
Cordes notes that Reid's
bill would likely extend the Bush-era tax cuts for households making
less than $250,000 a year. It may also include enough short-term
spending cuts to temporarily offset, for about six to eight months, the
across-the-board spending cuts set to go into effect on January 1, 2013.
have expressed little but pessimism for the prospect of an agreement
coming before Jan. 1. On Sunday, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas,
said she expects any action in the waning days of the year to be "a
patch because in four days we can't solve everything."
Obamas were spending the holiday at a rented home near Honolulu. On
Christmas Day, the president and first lady Michelle Obama visited with
Marines to express thanks for their service.
"One of my
favorite things is always coming to base on Christmas Day just to meet
you and say thank you," the president said. He called being commander in
chief his greatest honor as president.
Obama took photos with individual service members and their families.