With just 18 days to go, President Obama told reporters today a deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff is "still a work in progress."
Exiting the West Wing at 12:30 this afternoon en route to a holiday reception at Blair House, the President was asked by a reporter if he was feeling optimistic that an agreement can be reached to avoid the impending tax increases and spending cuts set to kick in on Jan. 1.
"It's still a work in progress," he said.
With negotiations at a standstill, House Speaker John Boehner continued today to blame Obama for failing to outline specific spending cuts.
"Republicans want to solve this problem by getting the spending line down," Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "The president wants to pretend that spending isn't the problem. That's why we don't have an agreement."
When a reporter at the White House noted that Boehner is waiting to hear more specifics from him, the president simply smiled and said, "Merry Christmas."
The White House insists the President has offered specific cuts he's willing to make to avoid going over the fiscal cliff and has criticized the Speaker for failing to detail the GOP's flexibility on revenue.
House Republicans and the administration continue to disagree over whether to raise taxes on the top two percent of income earners, as the president is demanding.
After leaving the White House, Obama crossed Pennsylvania Avenue on foot to attend the National Security Council's holiday party.