Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Sunday Obama was taking a hands-off approach to the negotiations because that was the plan in the first place.
"This came out of Congress," Kerry said on NBC's "Meet the Press. "This is an idea that came from the leadership of Congress, and Congress is supposed to do this."
Kerry said he has kept in constant contact with the White House on the negotiations; however, Republicans had insisted the president stay out of the direct talks in order to prevent the process from becoming too politicized.
Another committee member, Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., countered that the Democrats were too entrenched on raising taxes to preserve social programs for much headway to be made.
"But as both Senator Kerry and I have said we're not going to quit until the stroke of midnight," he said.