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White House calls fiscal cliff talks constructive

November 16, 2012
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photo - President Barack Obama makes an opening statement during his news conference, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama says the economy cannot afford a tax increase on all Americans and is calling on congressional Republicans to support an extension of existing tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Photo by STF
President Barack Obama makes an opening statement during his news conference, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama says the economy cannot afford a tax increase on all Americans and is calling on congressional Republicans to support an extension of existing tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Photo by STF 

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama had a constructive meeting with congressional leaders on the looming "fiscal cliff" that could undermine the economy and slow job creation in the new year.

Obama met with the top leaders of the House and Senate for more than an hour Friday on ways to avert the cliff, a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. in the absence of intervening action.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama and the legislative leaders "agreed to do everything possible to find a solution" and find a balanced approach to reduce the deficit that includes increased revenue favored by Democrats and spending cuts favored by Republicans.

Congressional leaders expressed confidence they could reach a deal before Christmas.

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