President Barack Obama arrives in the briefing room where he said he was 'modestly optimistic' while making a statement on fiscal cliff negotiations.. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says "the hour for immediate action is here" on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
The president says he remains "modestly optimistic" that an agreement can be reached in Congress before a looming year-end deadline to avoid tax increases and spending cuts.
If Congress can't reach a deal, the president says Congress should allow a vote on a basic package that would preserve tax cuts for middle-class Americans while extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and working toward a foundation for a broader deal.
The president says an hourlong meeting Friday with congressional leaders was "good and constructive."
Senate leaders say they hope to reach a compromise that could be presented to lawmakers by Sunday, little more than 24 hours before the deadline.
Fiscal cliff tax calculators:
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Details are very sketchy tonight, but Tampa Police homicide detectives are on scene of what appears to be the shooting death a person found in a Yellow Cab.