The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 27, 2012

Obama invites congressional leaders to cliff talk

— WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday in search of a compromise to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff" of across-the-board tax increases and deep spending cuts.

The development capped a day of growing urgency. Obama returned early from a Hawaiian vacation while lawmakers snarled across a partisan divide, leaders in each party blaming the other for an episode of government gridlock that threatens the economy with a new recession.

Adding to the woes confronting the middle class was a pending spike of $2 per gallon or more in milk prices if lawmakers failed to pass farm legislation by year's end.

Four days before the deadline, the White House disputed reports that Obama was sending lawmakers a scaled-down plan to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts.

Administration officials confirmed the Friday meeting at the White House in a bare-bones announcement that said the president would "host a meeting."

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner quickly issued a statement that said the Ohio Republican would attend and "continue to stress that the House has already passed legislation to avert the entire fiscal cliff and now the Senate must act."

Top Senate leaders said they remain ready to seek a last-minute agreement. Yet there was no legislation pending and no sign of negotiations in either the House or the Senate on a bill to prevent the tax hikes and spending cuts that economists say could send the economy into a recession.

Far from conciliatory, the rhetoric was confrontational and at times unusually personal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused House Speaker John Boehner of running a dictatorship, citing his refusal to call a vote on legislation to keep taxes steady for most while letting them rise at upper incomes. The bill "would pass overwhelmingly," Reid predicted, and said the Ohio Republican won't change his mind because he fears it might cost him re-election as speaker when the new Congress convenes next week.

Text Only
State and Nation
Poll

A recent national telephone survey found 75 percent of respondents believe the sale and use of pot will eventually be legal nationwide. Do you think marijuana should be legal in Alabama?

Yes
No
No, but I don’t think pot smokers should go to jail
Yes, but only for medical use
Yes, but only for personal adult use
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee