With only a few weeks left to prevent the U.S. from going over the “fiscal cliff,” a combination of tax increases and massive spending cuts that will go into effect next year unless congress comes up with a budget plan, people are beginning to wonder whether President Barack Obama and Congress are taking the matter seriously.

“Why not stay in town and just hammer it out and get a deal done,” Fox News’ James Rosen asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday. “Why is everyone jumping on their airplane for photo-ops outside of the Beltway?”

Indeed, it does seem a little strange that with the “fiscal cliff” so near, the president has delegated the chore of negotiating a budget deal with congress to his staff.

True, the president began the talks with congress, but he left soon after to go on tour of Asia. He is scheduled to appear in Pennsylvania on Friday to talk about expiring tax cuts while Speaker John Boehner and Republicans are planning to appear with small business owners.

Carney didn’t like Rosnen’s “disparaging” comments and argued that the president is merely continuing his “conversation with the American people.”

Because, you know, it’s not like we just had a presidential election or anything.

“Isn’t everybody just killing time?” asked NBC News’ Chuck Todd.

“No,” Carney responded.

“It just seems like everybody’s just killing time until the final week and the jet fumes from National Airport, people get out of school, and the holidays  come, and everybody will actually sit down to hammer it out?” Todd continued.

“It doesn’t feel like killing time to me,” Carney answered.

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(H/T: Washington Examiner)