And he said he was committed to working with House Speaker
"There is definitely a deal to be done," he said.
Obama predicted it would take six to nine months to solidify a corporate tax proposal with
"I think the time is right," he said. But with another presidential election in less than two years, "the window is not going to be open too wide."
Obama cited "two big hurdles" to striking a deal.
"We may be able to get that done, and then we can potentially have a conversation about broader tax reform," he said. "That may not be how the Republicans view the situation. And that could end up being a hang-up."
Another issue is the problem of some expiring tax breaks.
The House on Wednesday is expected to approve a one-year extension of a host of tax breaks worth about $45 billion a year after bipartisan efforts on a longer-term extension fell apart less than a month before a Dec. 31 deadline.
Most of the breaks are for businesses, including a crucial one for research and development expenses.
The Senate is expected to follow suit in the coming days so companies and individuals can deduct the expenses on their 2014 taxes.
Businesses are disappointed with the short-term extension, which technically is only until the end of this year. The breaks expired on Dec. 31, 2013.
Congress will take another shot at a longer-term extension next year with Republicans holding a stronger hand after winning control of the Senate and adding to their House majority in the mid-term elections.
But he said that longer extensions of tax breaks for working families, like the earned income tax credit, would have to be included in a broader tax overhaul as well.
"We have to be able to disagree on some things while going ahead and managing the people's business and working on the things where we do agree," he said.