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December 06, 2012

Obama, Boehner speak about fiscal cliff

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio spoke Wednesday night for the first time in a week about possible ways to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

It marked their first conversation since Democrats and Republicans traded offers on how to avoid a series of spending cuts and tax increases that are set to take place by the end of the year.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed the call, but declined repeatedly to characterize the conversation.  

"As I’ve said before, I’m not going to give readouts of phone calls and conversations and meetings," he said. "Our interest here is in working with Congress, working with numerous stakeholders towards the goal of achieving a compromised deal that averts the fiscal cliff and does the important work of putting together a balanced package that achieves $4 trillion in deficit reduction. The president spoke with Speaker of the House Boehner as he has in the past and as he will in the future.  But beyond that I don’t have a characterization."

Obama had a friendly meeting with congressional leaders -- Boehner, House Minority Leadder Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- after the election. Since then, he has spoken to Boehner three times.

Boehner has said that the negotiations are at a stalement and that he awaits a more serious proposals from Obama. Carney said Thursday that talks are ongoing but that Obama will not accept a "bad deal," which he says would cut tax rates for the two percent of wage earners.


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

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