Top Republican: will work with Obama to avoid fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 7, 2012 3:37pm EST

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (C) (D-CA) reacts as U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (L) (R-OH) helps hammer in her nail, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) watches on, during a ceremony for the Presidential Inauguration construction on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (C) (D-CA) reacts as U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (L) (R-OH) helps hammer in her nail, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) watches on, during a ceremony for the Presidential Inauguration construction on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. Republican John Boehner said on Wednesday that Washington should find a short-term solution to avoid the fiscal cliff and then work on a substantive debt reduction plan in 2013.

The White House and lawmakers have less than two months to deal with the fiscal cliff or $600 billion worth of spending cuts and tax increases due to go into effect at the end of the year.

"We won't solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight," Boehner said after President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House and Republicans won enough seats to maintain control in the House.

Acknowledging Obama's re-election victory, Boehner said House Republicans were willing to work with the White House and said they would accept new revenue under the right conditions.

"What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on - and a catalyst for - major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem," Boehner said in prepared remarks.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Rachelle Younglai)

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