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Congressional leaders optimistic after meeting Obama

Published on Nov 17, 2012 8:08 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - United States Republican and Democratic congressional leaders emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Friday pledging to find common ground on taxes and spending that would allow them to avert a looming "fiscal cliff" that could send the economy back into recession.

The top US lawmakers spoke to reporters as a group for the first time in more than a year in what aides said was a joint decision to project a message of unity.

Each side at least signaled a willingness to put "on the table" issues dear to the two parties for decades. The two Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Ms Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the House of Representatives, said they recognised the need to curb spending.

Mr John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, and Mr Mitch McConnell, who leads the party in the Senate, said they had agreed to put "revenue on the table" as the two sides enter what are likely to be weeks of tense negotiations before a Dec. 31 deadline.

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