Obama: Fiscal cliff deal 'in sight'
Barack Obama has said that a crucial deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff is "within sight, but it is not done".
US politicians have been working on New Year's Eve to seek a compromise deal to avert tax rises and spending cuts. But it is reported that the US House of Representatives might not vote on any 'fiscal cliff' plan before the deadline of midnight (05:00 BST Tuesday).
Failure to reach agreement could push the US back into recession.
Speaking this evening, the President said: "Today it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike is within sight, but it is not done.
"There are still issues left to resolve but we're are hopeful Congress can get it done."
President Obama was speaking in the White House shortly after 18:30 BST.
He sent a warning shot to his political opponents. "If Republicans think I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts ... then they have another thing coming," he said.
"If they think that’s going to be the formula for how we solve this thing, then they’ve another thing coming. That’s not how it’s going to work.
"We’ve got to do this in a balanced and responsible way. And if we’re serious about deficit reduction and debt reduction, then it’s going to have to be a matter of shared sacrifice. At least as long as I’m president. And I’m going to be president for the next four years, I hope."
He pledged to spend New Years' Eve working to reach a deal.
"It looks like I'm going to be spending New Year's here, in Washington DC... Let’s see if we can get this thing done."
The President's comments were immediately met with frustration by Republican senior congressional aides on Twitter. "If Obama's goal was to harm the process and make going over the cliff more likely, he's succeeding," said Doug Heye, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Josh Holmes, a top aide to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, said: "[Obama] just moved the goalpost again. Significantly. This is new."
If the two sides fail to agree a deal then a series of automatic tax rises and spending cuts will come in, which many analysts fear will push the US back into recession.