Barack Obama is optimistic Democrats and Republicans can "get done" a deal to prevent tax rises for the middle classes and take a "big bite" out of the fiscal cliff.
The US President told NBC's 'Meet the Press' programme:
Over the next 48 hours, my hope is that people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle-class families do not go up.
We can get that done. Democrats and Republicans both say they don't want taxes to go up on middle-class families. If we can get that done, that takes a big bite out of the 'fiscal cliff.'
If people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn't been solved... then obviously that's going to have an adverse reaction in the markets.
America's financial crisis has been averted, not solved. We've had the fiscal cliff. Now get ready for the debt abyss.
Democrats and Republicans have so far failed to agree on an alternative plan to the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for January 1.