by Mark Curtis, ABC 6 Chief Political Reporter
The most notable deal offered in President Obama's speech was his pledge to renew tax cuts for all Americans making less than 250 thousand dollars per year. Taxes rates for those above that amount would be re–negotiated. Reaction from local Democrats was swift,
"Optimistic may be too strong a word, but there certainly is a way through, but it is going to require some compromise from the Republican side," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI).
"Right now it's about trying to reach out across the aisle and find bi–partisan compromise to deal with the fiscal cliff, but at the same time making sure we're fighting for a strong middle–class," said Rep. Jim Langevin, (D-RI).
To that end, the President invited Congressional leaders from both parties to the White House next week, trying to negotiate a deal.
ABC 6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, "Even the non–partisan Congressional Budget Office says if the President and Congressional leaders simply do nothing, it could propel the United States back into another recession and the impact would be felt severely at the state and local level."
No action would mean automatic budget cuts, potentially including defense contractors such as electric boat in Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
That has local Republicans concerned.
State Sen. Dawson Hodgson, (R-RI), said, "In the most immediate terms it would mean the Virginia–class submarines. I want to make sure that our defense industry remains moving. It is one of the jewels in our economic crown, such that we have. And it absolutely has to be protected."
Rhode Island was among the states hardest hit in the most recent recession.