- (Photo: REUTERS)
The Obama family arrived in Hawaii early Saturday to spend their Christmas vacation in the president's home state.
President Obama, his wife and two daughters are taking rest at their vacation house in Kailua. He has no scheduled events while in Hawaii and it is not certain when he will be returning to Washington.
Just before leaving for Honolulu, however, Obama indicated that he would return "next week" since they did not agree on a fiscal cliff package.
On Friday, he reminded Congress that they only have 10 days before the fiscal cliff, when tax rates will rise on most Americans if no deal is reached.
Obama said that he met Republicans "halfway on taxes" and "more than halfway on spending" and that he is "still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done."
" ... even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those (tax) rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us - every single one of us - agrees that tax rates shouldn't go up for the other 98 percent of Americans, which includes 97 percent of small businesses," he said in his remarks. "Every member of Congress believes that. Every Democrat, every Republican. So there is absolutely no reason - none - not to protect these Americans from a tax hike. At the very least, let's agree right now on what we already agree on. Let's get that done."
The president said he is looking for a package that prevents a tax hike on middle-class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said what the president has offered so far "simply won't do anything to solve our spending problem and begin to address our nation's crippling debt."
Boehner had offered a "Plan B" where there would be a tax increase on those making $1 million or more annually. But members of his own party rejected the bill in the House.
Obama said he hopes everyone can "cool off" during their Christmas vacation and also gain some perspective before returning to the negotiating table.
"There's a mismatch right now between how everybody else is thinking about these problems– Democrats and Republicans outside of this town - and how folks are operating here. And we've just got to get that aligned. But we've only got 10 days to do it," he urged.
"So I hope that every member of Congress is thinking about that. Nobody can get 100 percent of what they want."