Following a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, President Obama appeared before the press to urge all parties to take immediate action to reach a deal before a set of major tax increases and spending cuts kick in on Jan. 1.
"The hour for immediate action is here," Obama told reporters at the White House. "It is now."
"I'm modestly optimistic that an agreement can be achieved," he added.
Obama announced that the fate of a potential deal lies with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will work together to present a prospective package to their respective conferences over the weekend.
Should that effort fail, however, Obama indicated that he would call upon Reid to bring the original White House proposal -- extending Bush-era tax rates on income below $250,000, among other measures -- for an up-or-down vote in the Senate.
"We should let everybody vote, that's the way this is supposed to work," Obama said.