(UPDATE (2:27 pm): A "fiscal cliff" deal is not looking likely, as Mitch McConnell is begging Joe Biden for a lifeline, and as a "Democratic aide" says there's been a "major setback," namely Republicans going after Social Security. Is anyone surprised by this kind of Republican't behavior? I'm sure not. - promoted by lowkell)
"The offers that I've made to them have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me. ... I offered to make some significant changes to our entitlement programs ... They [Republicans] say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way. But the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme..."
"I want to be very clear. You are not only going to cut your way to prosperity. One of the fallacies I think that has been promoted is this notion that deficit reduction is only a matter of cutting programs that are really important to seniors, students and so forth. That has to be part of the mix, but what I ran on and what the American people elected me to do was to put forward a balanced approach. To make sure that there's shared sacrifice..."
"I've said that fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority. I will introduce legislation in the first year to get that done. ... The second thing that we've got to do is to stabilize the economy and make sure it's growing. Part of that is deficit reduction. Part of it is also making sure that we're investing, for example, in rebuilding our infrastructure, which is broken. And if we are putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our schools, in part paying for it by some of these broader long-term deficit reduction measures that need to take place that will grow the economy at the same time as we're also setting our path for long-term fiscal stability..."
"Number three: We've got a huge opportunity around energy. We are producing more energy and America can become an energy exporter. How do we do that in a way that also deals with some of the environmental challenges that we have at the same time? So that's going to be a third thing..."
"I remain optimistic, I'm just a congenital optimist, that eventually people kind of see the light. Winston Churchill used to say that we Americans, we try every other option before we finally do the right thing. ... And I think that that's true for Congress as well. And I think it's also important for Americans to remember that politics has always been messy..."
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