- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

President Obama is cutting his Christmas vacation in Hawaii short to return overnight Wednesday to Washington, where the tax-and-spending debate awaits him.

He will be joining the Senate, which returns Thursday to pick up debates on an intelligence bill and the emergency spending bill for Hurricane Sandy relief — and to be ready to vote on a broader tax-and-spending deal, should leaders strike one.

Earlier press reports in November had said the president could be spending as long as three weeks in Hawaii. Residents near his vacation home had been told to expect travel restrictions between Dec. 17 and Jan. 6.

But negotiations on the “fiscal cliff” have trimmed both ends of that schedule, with a Jan. 1 deadline for tax increases and a Jan. 2 deadline for averting automatic spending cuts.

Mr. Obama departed Washington late Friday after telling reporters he wants to see a deal done, though he offered no new path for getting to an agreement.

A day earlier, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, saw the collapse of his plan to raise taxes on millionaires while extending tax cuts and replacing the automatic spending cuts.

In the wake of his own failure, Mr. Boehner said it was now up to Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to come up with something that could pass Congress.

Mr. Obama got in a hike and a round of golf during his vacation, and visited with troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas. The White House said his family will remain behind in Hawaii.

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