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Obama will host Congressional leaders at White House

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With just a narrow window remaining to strike a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders Friday afternoon at the White House.

The 3 p.m. meeting include all of the top Washington players: Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The White House confirmed the sit-down in a tersely worded release Thursday evening.

The face-to-face meeting with leaders from both parties is the first since Mr. Obama cut short his Hawaiian vacation to return to budget negotiations in Washington, D.C. and comes after a day in which Republicans and Democrats continued to blame each other for the lack of progress.

If both sides don’t reach a deal by Dec. 31, the nation will face the the double whammy of tax increases and severe across-the-board spending cuts — a combination that could wreak havoc on the economy.

While neither side has hinted about a potential deal in the works, the White House sit down comes as Republican leaders called House members back to Washington for an unusual Sunday session, a day before the deadline.

Mr. Boehner this week has repeatedly said it’s the Senate’s turn to offer a compromise deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, and his spokesman echoed that sentiment Thursday.

“[Mr. Boehner] will continue to stress that the House has already passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff and now the Senate must act,” Brendan Buck said in a statement accepting the invitation to meet Friday.

A spokesman for Mr. McConnell said his boss is “eager” to hear from the president.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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