By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON Dec 9 U.S. President Barack Obama
met with Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John
Boehner on Sunday at the White House to negotiate ways to avoid
the "fiscal cliff," according to White House officials and a
The two sides declined to provide further details about the
unannounced meeting. Obama and Boehner aides used the same
language to describe it.
"This afternoon, the president and Speaker Boehner met at
the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff,"
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
"We're not reading out details of the conversation, but the
lines of communication remain open," he said.
An aide to Boehner emailed an identical quote.
The two sides are trying to reach an agreement that would
stop automatic spending cuts and tax increases from going into
effect at the beginning of the year. Analysts say if that
so-called "fiscal cliff" occurs, the U.S. economy could swing
back into a recession.
Obama has made clear he will not accept a deal unless tax
rates for the wealthiest Americans rise. Boehner and many of his
fellow Republicans say any tax increases would hurt a still
Last week Boehner and Obama spoke by phone, a conversation
that the Republican leader described as pleasant but
The common language used by both men's aides suggests an
agreement to keep details about their discussions private, which
could help both of them sell less politically palatable aspects
of an eventual deal to lawmakers in their respective parties.