top-ten-senate-gop-gains-620x358

top-ten-senate-gop-gains-620x358

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and the Senate returned Thursday to Washington to revive stalled negotiations to avert a potentially devastating series of tax increases and spending cuts – but both parties remained pessimistic they would find a solution before a crucial end-of-the-year deadline.

“I have to be very honest,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “I don’t know time-wise how it can happen now.”

The president cut short his family vacation in Hawaii to fly back to Washington on Thursday. The Democratic-controlled Senate also returned. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday instructed members not to come back to the Capitol for votes until 6:30 p.m. Sunday, less than 30 hours before the New Year.

Obama will meet at the White House with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders Friday afternoon, according to the White House.