President calls for immediate action on fiscal cliff

President Barack Obama has told congressional leaders that the time to act on averting the fiscal cliff is now.

Obama met with House and Senate leaders for an hour earlier this afternoon at the White House. Later at a press briefing, he called the meeting "good and constructive" and said he's modestly optimistic that an agreement can be reached.

Obama warned that the patience of Americans has already worn thin and that Washington needs to act. He also warned that the U.S. and global economies could be negatively impacted.

He's said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell are attempting to work out an agreement.

Obama also wants a vote on his proposal to prevent tax hikes on the middle-class and extend unemployment benefits to about 2 million Americans who are out of work