The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 10, 2012

Obama, Boehner discuss 'fiscal cliff' stalemate

— WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House to discuss the "fiscal cliff," while rank-and-file Republicans stepped forward with what they called pragmatic ideas to break the stalemate.

The Obama-Boehner meeting Sunday was the first between just the two leaders since Election Day. They agreed not to release details of their weekend conversation, but aides emphasized that the lines of communication remain open.

Seeking to rally popular support for his position, Obama was heading to Michigan Monday to speak to auto workers at a plant outside Detroit. It's the latest in a string of campaign-style appearances Obama has held in recent weeks echoing a theme he stressed repeatedly during the election campaign: that the richest Americans should pay more to help reduce the deficit.

The president's message in Michigan will be that the economy is rebounding and Congress should not risk that progress to save tax cuts for the rich. The president will use the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant where he'll speak to illustrate his point, noting that the company plans to spend an additional $100 million to boost production in the U.S.

Jeff Immelt, GE's chief executive and head of a presidential advisory council on competitiveness, said a deal needs to be hammered out now and increased revenue is going to have to be part of the deal.

"The millions of people that work for us, their lives are in flux. And this is incredibly critical we get this done now," Immelt said in remarks aired Monday on "CBS This Morning."

He added: "Everyone knows we need revenue," because spending cuts alone won't solve the problem.

Republicans in Congress and Obama have been at loggerheads over how much revenue, or tax increases, should be included in a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

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