WASHINGTON (CBS) -- President Obama held budget negotiations with top members of Congress. Democrats and Republicans say they will work together to get a deal done. If they don't, the U.S. economy could fall off the fiscal cliff.
President Barack Obama sat down with congressional leaders as Democrats and Republicans look for a way to avoid the fiscal cliff. President Obama says, "Our challenge is to make sure that we are able to cooperate together, work together."
If the two sides don't reach a budget deal before the end of the year, automatic spending cuts and tax hikes will kick in and possibly throw the economy back into a recession. After the meeting both sides seemed confident an agreement can be made. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell says, "It was a constructive meeting; we all understand where we are."
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi says, "Every person in America knows that we must reach an agreement."
The President wants $1.6 trillion in new revenue including higher taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year. But Republicans say they will not agree to a deal that includes tax hikes.
But one possible solution might involve a plan that Mitt Romney proposed during the Presidential campaign. The Republican nominee wanted to cap the amount of tax deductions Americans can take on items like mortgage interest. House Speaker John Boehner has shown interest in the plan which would raise more tax revenue without raising rates. He says, "I believe that the framework I outlined in our meeting today is consistent with the president's calls for a fair and balanced approach."
Democrats and Republicans say they will reach an agreement but a new poll shows many Americans are skeptical. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed believe a deal will not get done.
The Congressional Budget Office says if the fiscal cliff's automatic tax increases and spending cuts are allowed to kick in unemployment will shoot up to 9.1 percent in 2013 from the current 7.9 percent.