HONOLULU: President Barack Obama is cutting short his Hawaiian holiday to leave for Washington on Wednesday to address the unfinished “fiscal cliff” negotiations with Congress, the White House said on Tuesday.
As the clock ticks toward a Jan.1 deadline, efforts to avert a sharp rise in taxes and deep spending cuts have stalled, worrying world financial markets.
Obama and congressional lawmakers left Washington on Friday for the Christmas holidays with talks to avert the fiscal disaster in limbo.
Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii early on Saturday and have devoted their time to spending the Christmas holiday together.
First Lady Michelle Obama and the couple’s two daughters are to remain in Hawaii, suggesting the president hopes to rejoin them if a deal is struck.
Before the talks ran into trouble, Obama had originally been expected to stay in Hawaii - where he was born - until well into the first week of January.
Obama is expected to turn to a trusted Democratic ally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to help craft a quick deal.
Visitors coming to the nation’s capital for Obama’s second inauguration can’t stay in the one place President Ronald Reagan’s family once called an eight-star hotel. That spot is the White House, and it’s booked for the next four years.
Still, inauguration-goers have a range of lodging options — from crashing on a friend’s couch to reasonably priced rooms to ones that cost thousands of dollars a night.
With second inaugurations tending to draw fewer spectators, finding a place to stay in Washington won’t be nearly as difficult as in 2009.
City officials are expecting 600,000 to 800,000 visitors for the Jan.21 inauguration, far less than the 1.8 million people who flooded the National Mall four years ago to witness the inauguration of America’s first black president.
Back then, some hotels sold out months in advance and city residents rented out their homes for hundreds of dollars a night.
This time, hotels say they’re filling up more slowly, with rooms still available and prices at or slightly below where they were four years ago.