White House staff to keep up 'fiscal cliff' talks during Asia trip

WASHINGTON Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:23pm EST

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WASHINGTON Nov 16 (Reuters) - White House officials will continue talks to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" as President Barack Obama travels in Asia in the coming week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday after the president and congressional leaders began crafting a deal on the looming automatic spending cuts and tax hikes.

"Members of the president's senior team will continue meetings and discussions with members of Congress and staff over the next several days while the President travels in Asia," Carney said in a statement.

Obama leaves on Saturday for a trip to Asia that will include a historic stop in Myanmar.

On Friday, he met with the most powerful members of both parties in Congress - House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It was the first meeting on how to avert the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts set to occur early next year since Obama's re-election last week.

Carney echoed the conciliatory comments the lawmakers made about the meeting, saying "both sides agreed that while there may be differences in our preferred approaches, we will continue a constructive process to find a solution and come to a conclusion as soon as possible."

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