Obama Said to Lay Out Reduced Budget Plan at White House Meeting

Published December 28, 2012

| Reuters

President Barack Obama met congressional leaders on Friday but there was little sign of progress in resolving their differences over the U.S. federal budget and striking a "fiscal cliff" deal before January 1.

Obama was not planning to make a new offer, a source familiar with the meeting said as the hour-long talks got under way. None of the participants made statements to the media immediately after the summit at the White House ended.

U.S. stocks fell for a fifth straight day, dropping 1 percent as the federal government edged closer to the "fiscal cliff" with no solution in sight.

Members of Congress are increasingly looking at the period straight after the December 31 deadline to come up with a retroactive fix to avoid steep tax increases and sharp spending cuts that economists have said could plunge the country into another recession.

With taxes on all Americans set to rise when rates established under former President George W. Bush expire on New Year's Eve, lawmakers would be able to come back in January and take a more politically palatable vote to cut some of the tax rates.

The president met Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - the first time the group has met together since November.

If congressional leaders objected to his plan, Obama was planning to ask them for a viable counterproposal, the source said. If lawmakers had no alternative approach, Obama was seeking an up-or-down vote in Congress on his plan, the source said.

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