WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is calling on congressional leaders to hash out an agreement that will avert the automatic tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect in January.
The President met Friday for about an hour with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
At a press briefing, the President said, the hour for immediate action is here. Obama called today's meeting "constructive."
The White House is trying to build support for a proposal it presented a week ago, when Obama urged lawmakers to preserve tax cuts for most Americans while letting rates rise on incomes above $250,000 a year. At the same time, Obama wants lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
Both sides are trying to prevent a toxic blend of middle-class tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect at the turn of the new year.