Obama to Congress: Fiscal Cliff Is Urgent

President Obama stressed that time was short to hammer out an agreement. 

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In an effort to avoid year-end "fiscal cliff" tax increases and spending cuts that would hurt the middle class and potentially plunge the nation back into an economic recession, President Barack Obama told congressional leaders that "we have urgent business to do," the Huffington Post reports. The remarks came Friday during the first meeting with the leaders at the White House since the president won re-election this month.

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders from both parties voiced fresh optimism Friday after meeting with newly re-elected President Barack Obama about avoiding year-end "fiscal cliff" tax increases and spending cuts that would hammer the middle class and risk plunging the economy into recession.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Republicans are willing to consider increased revenue "as long as it is accompanied by spending cuts" as leaders in a divided government get to work on a possible deal after a fierce election campaign.

He presented a framework that one official said called for a deficit down-payment of unspecified size by year's end, to be followed by comprehensive tax reform and an overhaul of Medicare and other benefit programs in 2013.

Democrats indicated some spending cuts would be fine with them. "I feel confident that a solution may be in sight," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

The goal of the high-pressure talks to come is to produce a multitrillion-dollar deficit-reduction plan that can take the place of the across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that are slated to take effect on Jan. 1.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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