Vice President Joe Biden, flying to his home in Delaware from Chicago, told reporters aboard Air Force Two that the White House was "really anxious" to get moving on the problem. He said he'd been making a lot of calls and "people know we've got to get down to work and I think they're ready to move." He didn't identify whom he had spoken with but predicted the "fever will break" on past legislative gridlock after some soul-searching by Republicans.
The White House held out this week's election results as a mandate from voters for greater cooperation between the White House and Congress. At the same time, it reiterated Obama's top priorities: cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, creating jobs and cutting the deficit "in a balanced way" — through a combination of tax increases on wealthier Americans and spending cuts.
Obama told the congressional leaders he believed "the American people sent a message in yesterday's election that leaders in both parties need to put aside their partisan interests and work with common purpose to put the interests of the American people and the American economy first," the White House said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., channeled Obama in calling for a quick solution to the fiscal showdown and saying that asking "the richest of the rich" to pay more should be part of the equation. He added that he'd "do everything within my power to be as conciliatory as possible" but added, "I want everyone to also understand you can't push us around."
"Waiting for a month, six weeks, six months, that's not going to solve the problem," Reid said on Capitol Hill. "We know what needs to be done. And so I think that we should just roll up our sleeves and get it done."