Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama and lawmakers met for the first time since the election to commence discussions on how to avert the fiscal cliff that will take effect at the end of the year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) along with congressional leaders from both parties joined the president at the White House Friday to talk about ways to reduce the deficit and boost the economy.
The nation’s top leaders have 46 days left to figure out what action to take before deep budget cuts and significant tax increases take effect that will likely cause the economy to slide back into recession.
The session featured the same players who failed to reach a compromise for the $4tn debt in 2011 including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), which all agreed that the meeting was substantive.
The fiscal cliff is a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes totalling $607 billion and will take effect at the beginning of next year if Congress fails to act.
After winning the election, Obama believes that he has gained the mandate to extend the tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush administration that are set to expire in Dec. 31. He has stated he is not willing to do so for couples earning at least $250,000 a year and for individuals with $200,000 annual income.