"I make this call on behalf of the people I work for in Montana. My bosses have given me clear marching orders, three simple words: get it done."

Baucus encouraged negotiators to reach a "balanced" plan that includes both spending cuts and tax increases on the wealthy. He said that without a deal to avoid the cliff, the U.S. economy could fall back into recession.

"If Congress fails to act by the New Year's deadline, every American will be hit with a tax hike, including 400,000 Montana families, and that's approximately $2,000 out of the pockets of America's working families," Baucus added.

Baucus also called on the House to take up the Senate-passed farm bill, which he called a jobs bill for farmers.

"I call on the House to bring the Senate farm bill up for a vote immediately," he said. "Our farmers and ranchers break their back to put food on the table every day. The least they deserve is an honest, fair up or down vote on their jobs bill."

Baucus noted that the president is meeting at this hour with House and Senate leaders, and said his message to them is simple:

"We can do this. We can get this done, and we must. It's our responsibility."