WASHINGTON (CBS News) -- After a successful Election Night maintaining - and increasing - his Democratic majority in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid held a morning-after news conference to pronounce his willingness to compromise with his Republican colleagues, and he insisted on the need to reach a deal on the "fiscal cliff."
"I'm not kicking the can down the road," Reid said about the pending tax increases and budget cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" that Congress and President Obama must address in the coming weeks or risk economic challenges.
"Of course" a deal is possible with the House and Mr. Obama, Reid said, adding that he had a "pleasant" conversation with House Speaker John Boehner this morning and a "nice conversation" with President Obama last night about moving forward on fiscal cliff negotiations.
House Speaker John Boehner indicated earlier this week that a comprehensive deal during the lame duck session of Congress is not likely, but that a temporary "bridge" to avert the dramatic jolt to the economy. Congress is returning to Washington next week to work on unfinished business, including the "fiscal cliff."
As the debt ceiling is expected to be reached around the New Year as well, Reid said Republican's won't succeed at threatening to shut down the government to lift the debt ceiling. "They tried it before," Reid said, referring to Republicans who refused to lift the debt ceiling without large spending cuts in 2011. "If it has to be raised, we'll raise it."
Maintaining the status quo government - a Republican House and a Democratic Senate and White House - Reid said he is "going to do everything in my power to be as conciliatory as possible." But he cautioned that he won't be "pushed" around.
He placed some responsibility with his Republican colleagues, inferring that they have been closed to compromise. "Compromise is not a dirty word," he said.
"It's better to dance than to fight," he added. "It's better to work together."
Reid said the election proved that Americans want a "balanced" approach of tax increases and spending cuts to deal the deficit. Exit polls show that 60 percent of voters want the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Designed by Gray Digital Media