WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says a fiscal cliff deal is "still a work in progress" as an end of the year deadline rapidly approaches.

Obama made his assessment in a response to questions from reporters as he walked from the White House to a staff holiday party being held across the street. Asked about House Speaker John Boehner's assertion that he was waiting to hear more from the president, Obama said only, "Merry Christmas."

The president has stayed largely quiet this week as the White House and Boehner seek a way to avert a flurry of year-end tax increases and spending cuts. The two sides are stuck on whether to raise tax rates on the top 2 percent of income earners, a position the president supports and Boehner opposes.

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