President Discusses Looming Fiscal Cliff

UNDATED (WIFR) -- In his first speech back on the job, President Obama addressed the fiscal deadline facing America. Economists say if Congress does not reach an agreement on taxes and spending by January 1st, we could fall back into a recession.

President Obama is pressing lawmakers to steer the country away from the fiscal cliff. The cliff is a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will kick in at the end of the year unless Republicans and Democrats can reach a deal.

"I've invited leaders of both parties to the White House next week so we can start to build consensus around the challenges that we can only solve together,” said the President.

Yet, a fight over taxes is already looming. Democrats want families making more than $250,000 a year to pay more. Republicans reject that idea. Instead, Republicans want cuts to entitlement programs and are pushing tax reform that closes loopholes and eliminates some deductions.

"By lowering rates and cleaning up the tax code we know that we are going to get more economic growth it will bring jobs back to America,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

Since the election, both the President and Republicans have been emphasizing compromise. Economists say if they don't find one, the fiscal cliff could throw the economy back into a recession. The Congressional Budget Office says if those spending cuts and tax increases do take effect - the unemployment rate will rise to 9 point 1 percent.

Congress returns to Washington next week, but it's likely lawmakers will push closing a deal right up to the deadline.

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