President Barack Obama and the first family arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii just after midnight Saturday morning for their fifth Hawaiian Christmas vacation since he was elected President.
The first family and their friends will be staying at private homes they rented on Kailua Beach, located on the Windward side of Oahu.
No public appearances for the President have been announced, except he does plan to attend a Sunday memorial service for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
While in Hawaii, the President typically goes golfing with friends and plays basketball at his alma mater, Punahou School.
Residents have been alerted that the U.S. Coast Guard is enforcing a security zone around Kailua waterways that will prevent residents and visitors from using either the canal near the homes or the ocean and beach fronting the Obama’s location until January 6.
The Coast Guard’s boats have been patrolling the area waterways over the last three days, and the Secret Service is stationed along Kailuana Drive where the first family is staying.
The President left Washington D.C. for vacation despite ongoing negotiations with Republicans in Congress over the looming “fiscal cliff.”
The President wants to increase taxes on incomes of $400,000 or more, while the majority of Republicans in the House want to cut spending. Taxes will increase on January 1 unless they come to an agreement. Some economists also speculate that going over the fiscal cliff could plunge America back into a recession.
Obama said yesterday before leaving the nation’s capitol that the time away from Washington politics may give political leaders some time to think about America’s financial situation.
“So, as we leave town for a few days to be with our families for the holidays, I hope it gives everybody some perspective. Everybody can cool off; everybody can drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones. And then I’d ask every member of Congress while they’re back home to think about that. Think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here,” Obama said.
Obama and his family were originally expected to be in Hawaii for an extended vacation, but Obama hinted today he may return to Washington ahead of schedule.
His schedule is still unclear. Signs posted in the residential area where the President is staying say there is “no parking” in the area from December 21 to January 6 at 8 p.m.
The fiscal cliff measures are set to take effect January 1. New members of Congress will be sworn in on January 3.