President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says it appears that an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff is "in sight," but says it's not yet complete and work continues.
Obama says this has been a "pressing issue on people's minds," and tells an audience of middle-class taxpayers the deal would, among other things, extend unemployment benefits for Americans "who are still out there looking for a job."
He voiced regret that the work of the administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill won't produce a "grand bargain" on tax-and-spend issues, but said that "with this Congress, it couldn't happen at that time."
Officials familiar with the negotiations say an agreement would raise tax rates on family income over $450,000 a year and increase the estate tax rate.