(MENAFN - AFP) US President Barack Obama offered opposition Republicans a short-term compromise on avoiding the fiscal cliff, said any deal needed to include tax increases for the rich.
Obama suggested he was willing to negotiate a fix before year-end to avoid the harsh tax hikes and spending cuts programmed for January 1, and then seek a comprehensive deal on long-term deficit reduction next year.
"We face a clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs, taxes, and deficits by the end of the year... As I've said before, I'm open to compromise and I'm open to new ideas," Obama said at his first press conference after being re-elected Tuesday.
He said a deal would include maintaining existing tax breaks for 98 percent of American households whose incomes are below 250,000 a year.
But he insisted that similar tax breaks for wealthier Americans should expire, a point which many Republicans have rejected.
"We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy," he said.
"We cannot afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy."