HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama will cut short his Christmas holiday in Hawaii, planning to leave for Washington today as he and lawmakers consider how to prevent the economy from going over the "fiscal cliff."
Obama was expected to arrive in Washington on Thursday, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama and the couple's daughters will remain in Hawaii.
In the past, the president's end-of-the-year holiday in his native state had stretched into the new year.
Congress was expected to return to Washington on Thursday.
Automatic budget cuts and tax increases are set to begin in January, which many economists say could send the country back into recession. So far, the president and congressional Republicans have been unable to reach agreement on any alternatives.
The Obamas were spending the holiday at a rented home near Honolulu.
On Tuesday, the president and first lady visited with members of the military to express thanks for their service.
"One of my favorite things is always coming to base on Christmas Day just to meet you and say thank you," the president said at Marine Corps Base Hawaii's Anderson Hall. He said that being commander in chief was his greatest honor as president.
Obama took photos with individual service members and their families.
On Monday, Obama called members of the military to thank them for serving the nation, then joined his family for dinner, the White House said.
The Obamas opened gifts Christmas morning, ate breakfast and sang carols.