President Obama spoke to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this weekend as lawmakers continue to talk about how to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House more than a week ago before he departed for a four-day trip to Asia. The White House declined Monday to say whether any more meetings are scheduled with members of Congress, though the president continues to talk to business, labor and civic leaders.
"We remain confident we can reach an agreement," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House Monday, even while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was on Capitol Hill talking about an impasse.
Carney said he "weclcomed" the statements by several Republicans that indicated that they had backed away from a strict no-tax inctease pledge, including Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham and Rep. Peter King.
A series of tax increased cuts are slated to take effect as the result of a bipartisan deal struck last year to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. The first $109 billion, including $55 billion in defense reductions, are set to take effect in January unless Congress and the president acts.