President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they're confident they can reach a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff looming at the end of the year.
The series of tax increases and spending cuts is set to kick in Jan. 1 unless Congress can reach a deal before then.
Obama discussed the issue in Washington, joined by about a dozen middle class families who say they're worried about their taxes going up next year.
The president hopes to have a deal by Christmas.
"If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I'll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way," Obama said. "I've got to repeat -- I've got a pen. I'm ready to sign it."
Obama is sending Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House legislative chief Rob Nabors to negotiate with Congressional leaders from both parties Thursday, including House Speaker John Boehner.
Boehner has shared the President's optimism, saying the sooner the fiscal crisis is resolved, the better.
However, Boehner says he won't agree to any tax increases.
The President has been pushing for tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans.