Sen. Blunt: Still time to make a deal

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) urged Democrats to back legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House designed to prevent "fiscal cliff" spending cuts and tax increases.

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Blunt's call, made during the weekly Republican address, came as legislators scramble to reach a compromise ahead of the year-end deadline. On Friday, Obama met with the Democratic and Republican leaders to discuss a deal. After the meeting he said that he was "optimistic" about preventing the cuts and tax increases.

“Fortunately, going over the fiscal cliff is avoidable. There’s not much time, but there’s still time to act," Blunt said. "Both President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have claimed that an achievable plan is one that can pass both houses of Congress and Republicans agree."

Blunt added that House Republicans have already taken steps to avoid the spending cuts and tax increases.

“The Republican-controlled House has taken a step in the right direction. The House has already passed bills to protect all Americans from burdensome tax increases," Blunt said. "In addition, they’ve passed legislation to replace damaging across-the-board spending cuts with responsible targeted ones, and to bring our nation’s record debt under control.

"But instead of working across the aisle and considering the House-passed plan to protect taxpayers, Senate Democrats have spent months drawing partisan lines in the sand."

A compromise can still be found if Obama and Democrats make a concerted efforts to work with Republicans, Blunt said.

“Inaction shouldn’t be an option. The problems facing our country are big, but they’re not necessarily all that complicated," Blunt said.

"The President will never have more political capital than he does right now, and the next few days will begin to define his second term. He was elected to lead.

“We still can avoid going over the fiscal cliff if the President and the Democrat-controlled Senate step forward this week and work with Republicans to solve this problem and solve it now.”