The White House has tried to rescue stalled budget crisis talks after Thursday’s collapse of a Republican plan.
But a meeting produced little – even a push to reach a short term deal on unemployment insurance in order to lessen the worst effects of the fiscal cliff on ordinary Americans.
Shortly before leaving for his Christmas holiday President Obama urged lawmakers to have a cooling off period and to reflect on their responsibilities.
“Nobody can get a 100 per cent of what they want and this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn’t. There are real world consequences to what we do here,” said the president.
Confidence on Wall Street opened and quickly slumped after the Republican failure – the prospect of billions of dollars of spending cuts and tax hikes automatically kicking in next month if no deal on budget reform is reached is dampening the festive spirit.
Shoppers and businesses face an uncertain economic world – no deal could see the draconian measures agreed as a last resort during previous deficit ceiling crisis talks, dragging the US back into recession.