President Barack Obama seemed surprisingly upbeat during televised remarks just completed at the Eisenhower Office Building in Washington, DC. "It appears that an agreement to prevent this New Years tax hike is in sight," Obama said. "But it's not done."
The president said that in addition to raising taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans, the deal being worked out would extend tax expiring tax credits for tuition, clean energy, and working families with children, as well as extend unemployment insurance benefits for two million Americans. Unconfirmed reports say that taxes would rise to Clinton-era levels on individuals with incomes over $400,000 a year, and households over $450,000.
What doesn't seem to be part of the agreement at this time are comprehensive spending cuts. Obama told the audience that he'd hoped for balanced approach toward reducing the deficit—some sort of "grand bargain"—but "with this Congress, that was obviously a little too much to hope for at this time."