WASHINGTON -- December 22, 2012
President Barack Obama has throttled back his ambitions for a sweeping budget bargain with Republicans.
Instead, he's calling for a scaled-back measure sufficient to prevent the government from careening off the "fiscal cliff" in January by extending tax cuts for most taxpayers and forestalling a painful set of agency budget cuts.
In a White House appearance Friday, Obama also called on Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that would otherwise be cut off for 2 million people at the turn of the year.
Obama's announcement suggested that any chance for a smaller deal may rest in the Senate, particularly after the collapse of a plan by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to permit tax rates to rise on million-dollar-plus incomes.