WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is applying pressure on Republicans to negotiate a fiscal deal, arguing that GOP leaders have rejected his past attempts to strike a bigger and more comprehensive bargain.
Obama says his offers to Republicans "have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me." He cited a proposal he made to House Speaker John Boehner to reduce cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries.
Obama made his remarks during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" show that aired Sunday. Obama granted the interview as the Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders worked to cut a scaled-back bargain to avoid automatic tax increases on nearly all Americans.
He says Republicans have "had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers."
Meantime, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked Vice President Joe Biden to become involved in a last-minute efforts. Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid acknowledged McConnell had made an offer last night but said "at this point we are unable to make a counter-offer."
The public exchange between the top negotiators on averting the so-called fiscal cliff injected a note of pessimism little more than 24 hours before taxes are set to go up.
Democrats said the Republican proposal called for changing the formula for calculating Social Security benefits increases.
McConnell said there is no single issue blocking an agreement but that "the sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest, or courage to close the deal."