President Obama on Fiscal Cliff: 'Nobody Gets 100 Percent of What They Want'

Obama on fiscal cliff talks following meeting with Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Harry Reid.
10:10 | 12/21/12

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Transcript for President Obama on Fiscal Cliff: 'Nobody Gets 100 Percent of What They Want'
-- Susan BBC news special report. Hello everyone I'm George Stephanopoulos we are joining me now because President Obama is about to speak in the White House briefing room. That fiscal cliff is the subject everyone's taxes set to go up every government program will be cut in just eleven days if Washington doesn't make a deal and right now. That looks difficult the president's talks with house speaker John Boehner of collapse so is the speaker's back -- plan. So the president just met with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to come up with a plan. ABC's ABC's chief White House correspondent John Karl joins -- Now and John the big question right now can they come up with some kind of a plan that -- -- protect most Americans from a tax increase on January 1. -- hopes of that. Are dimming I mean right now congress has already going home for vacation so not only other no signs of any progress and anywhere in these talks. There's really nobody even talking you mentioned the president's meeting with Harry Reid but he hasn't talked to speaker of the house John Boehner since Monday I think we can expect as the president will come out here. And -- speaker Boehner to come back to the negotiating table the best hope here. Really George is that they go home for the Christmas holiday come back before the new year and make an effort in new but really time is running out whatever they agree to they still have to pass. And what Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid already asked the speaker to do is to take up a bill that the senate has already passed that would. Protect every American -- who earns under 250000 dollars from getting tax increase. And speaker Boehner told me this morning that they will not do that they cannot do that. He says that what has to happen is the senate passed act so what you have is both sides pointing the finger at the other saying you're turned you have to make something -- -- to. OK well let's see what the president has to say -- he's expected in the white -- briefing room momentarily. As we said everyone's taxes set to go on January 1 the government cuts across the -- government cuts we'll take hold. On January 1 as well. There's some talk also -- the president and here's the president right now. Good afternoon everybody. The last few weeks I've been working with leaders of both parties on a proposal to get our deficit under control. The board tax cuts. -- -- -- tax hikes on the middle class. And make sure that we can spur jobs and economic growth a balanced proposal that cut spending but also asks the wealthiest Americans to pay more. -- proposal that will strengthen the middle class over the long haul. And -- economy over the long haul. During the course of these negotiations. I offered to compromise with Republicans in congress. I met them halfway on taxes and I met them more than half way on spending. -- terms of actual. Dollar amounts were not that far apart. As -- today I am still ready and willing. To get a comprehensive. Package dot. I still believe that reducing our deficit. Is the right thing to do for the long term health of our economy in the confidence of our businesses. I remain committed to working towards that goal but whether it happens all wants or whether it happens in several different steps. But in ten days we face a deadline. In ten days under current law tax rates are scheduled to rise. On most Americans. And even though Democrats -- Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should -- -- for the wealthiest individuals. All of us every single one of us. Agrees that tax rates shouldn't go up. For the other 98% of Americans which includes 97% small business. Every member of congress believes that. Every Democrat. Every Republican. So there is absolutely no reason. Not. Not to protect these Americans from -- -- At the very least let's agree. Right now -- What we -- -- let's get that done. I just spoke to speaker -- And I also met with senator Reid. In the next few days I've asked leaders of congress to work towards -- packets that prevents a tax hike on middle class Americans. Protects unemployment insurance for two million Americans. And lays the ground work for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. That's an achievable goal that can get done in ten days. Once this legislation's agreed to I expect Democrats and Republicans to get back to Washington. And -- it passed both chambers and I -- immediately signed that legislation into law before January 1. Of next year. -- -- -- Averting this middle class tax hike is not a democratic responsibility or Republican responsibility. -- their votes the American people have determined that governing is a shared responsibility. Between both parties. In this congress. Loss can only pass with support from Democrats. And Republicans and that means nobody gets a 100% of what they want. Everybody's got to give a little bit. And sensible way. We move forward together. Or we don't move forward at all. Salt. As we leave town for a few days to be with our families. For the holidays I -- it -- service and prospective. -- body -- cool off. -- -- -- -- -- -- meg not. Have some Christmas cookies. Some sinks them Christmas carols. Enjoy the company of loved ones. -- that I'd ask every member of congress -- back home to think about it think about the obligations. We have to the people who sent us. Think about the hardship that so many Americans -- or if congress does nothing at all. Just as our economy. Is. Really starting to recover and -- to see optimistic science and we've seen actually. Some upside statistics. From a whole range of areas including housing. Now's not the time. For more self inflicted wounds. Certainly not those come from Washington. And there's so much more work to be done in this country on jobs and on incomes and education and energy. -- a week away from. One of the worst tragedies. In memory. So we've got work to do on gun safety. Host of other issues. These are all challenges that we can -- -- challenges that we have to me if we want our kids to grow up in America -- full of opportunity. And possibility. As much opportunity and possibility is the America that our parents our grandparents left for us. What were only -- going to be able to do it together. We're gonna have to find some common ground. And the challenge that we've got right now is that the American people. Are a lot more sensible. And a lot more thoughtful. And much more willing to copper -- And give and sacrifice. And act responsibly. Then there -- elected representatives of that's a problem there's a mismatch right now between. -- real suspect about these problems Democrats -- -- Outside of this town and how folks are operating here and we've just got to. Give battle lines. We've only got ten days you don't. So. I hope that every member of congress is thinking about it. Nobody can get a 100% for what they want. And this is not simply -- contest. Between parties. In terms of who looks good and who doesn't. The real world consequences to what we do here. And I want next year to be a year of strong economic growth. I want next year to be a year in which more jobs are created. And more businesses are store. And we're making progress on all the challenges that we have out there are some of which by the way. We don't have as much control over as we have in terms of shaping a sensible budget. This is something within our capacity to -- It doesn't take very much work. We just have to do right. So. Call me area. Hopeless optimist. But actually still think we can get about. And when that I want wish every American. -- Merry Christmas. And you know because we didn't get this done -- will see you next week. Keeping the pressure on congress cities just spoke with house speaker John -- -- in the Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid about passing something before New Year's. There will block a tax increase for every American earning under 250000. Dollars also. Wants to extend unemployment. Insurance and John he said John Carly -- John Carr chief White House correspondent. He said he would come back to sign that -- of congress to pass it. Yeah and that's a big gift this is a scaled back plan this would just deal with the tax question and that -- expiring unemployment insurance. But as we saw last night the speaker had a hard time. Passing something that would deal with the tax question. So that this still remains a challenge they have to come to agreement on that and that figure way to pass it all by January 1. OK John I know you'll be back to the full report on world news and Diane sorry controllers -- -- I'm George Stephanopoulos have a good day. This is a special. BC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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