Obama spoke with House Speaker Boehner, others on "fiscal cliff"

WASHINGTON Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:51pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he leaves the 21st ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia summit in Phnom Penh November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he leaves the 21st ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia summit in Phnom Penh November 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama spoke with House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner over the weekend on efforts to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" of budget cuts and tax rises that threatens to tip the U.S. economy back into recession.

A White House official said on Monday that Obama also spoke with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fellow Democrat, and said discussions among staff members continued.

The president met with congressional leaders, including Boehner and Reid, 10 days ago seeking common ground following Obama's re-election for another four-year term on November 6.

Boehner and fellow Republicans oppose the Democrats' proposal to raise taxes on the very wealthy as part of arrangements to rein in the enormous U.S. budget deficits.

Starting on January 2, about $600 billion worth of tax increases and spending reductions, including $109 billion in cuts to domestic and defense programs, will begin to kick in if Congress cannot decide how to replace them with less extreme deficit-reduction measures.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by David Storey)

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