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November 09, 2012

Obama urges Congress to act to prevent so-called fiscal cliff

In a brief statement Friday, President Obama urged Congress to act to immediately to prevent a set of tax increases and spending cuts in January that will threaten to throw the nation into another recession.

Obama said he invited congressional leaders of both parties to the White House to meet next week on the so-called fiscal cliff. He also said he would be speaking to business, labor and civic leaders.

"I intend t work woth both parties to do more,'' he said. "I want to be clear...I am open to compromise."

The president reiterated that the solution to the nation's fiscal problems needs to include a balance of both spending cuts and tax increases. Obama did not introduce a specific plan, but urged the House to pass a bill the Senate already passed to cut taxes for the middle class.

Obama said his victory showed that the "majority of Americans agree with my approach." He said he will work to persuade the majority of Congress to agree with it.

“At a time when our economy is still recovering…our top priority has to be jobs and growth,’’ he said. "We can’t cut our way to prosperity.”

Congress returns Tuesday. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Friday that he was open to almost everything -- except a tax increase.

A series of spending cuts are slated to take place as part of a bipartisan effort to raise the nation's debt ceiling. The first $110 million in cuts would take effct Jan. 2.

Neither Republicans and Democrats want the cuts but they disgree on what to do about it. Obama wants cuts combined with higher taxes on the wealthy, but Republicans in Congress do not want tax increases.

Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, appeared in the East Room of the White House in front of nearly 200 supporters. His remarks were the first since he won re-election Tuesday. He did not take questions.


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Representative Boehner doesn't get it - the Bush tax cuts will expire on December 31st, with our without him. There will be a tax increase if he doesn't compromise.

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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