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FISCAL CLIFF: McConnell says Obama to meet Hill leaders on Friday

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate's top Republican says President Barack Obama has asked congressional leaders to convene at the White House for last-minute talks on a deal that avoids automatic tax increases and broad spending cuts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the leaders are expected to meet with the president Friday, just four days before the government goes over the so-called "fiscal cliff" if Congress and Obama don't act.

The meeting would be the first time Obama has huddled with all four leaders since Nov. 16 and would represent that last hope for a deal before the new year. Obama spoke to each leader individually Wednesday before returning from vacation in Hawaii.

Obama and congressional Democrats want a deal that would let tax rates rise for the wealthiest taxpayers.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says President Barack Obama has made separate phone calls to congressional leaders to discuss the impending fiscal cliff.

A White House official says Obama called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi late Wednesday. The president made the calls before leaving his Hawaiian vacation for Washington, D.C.

The calls come amid little progress before the Dec. 31 deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff. Americans face major tax increases and spending cuts if Congress and the White House fail to reach a compromise by the end of the year.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House will be back in session Sunday evening as the "fiscal cliff" looms, threatening across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts with the new year.

Officials said the Republican leadership informed the GOP rank and file of the plan to meet during a conference call Thursday.

It is unclear what legislation the House might consider Sunday, since Speaker John Boehner is publicly insisting that the Senate must make the next move to avert the cliff.

With the Senate in session, Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been harshly critical of the House's absence.

The "fiscal cliff" deadline is four days away.

The officials who disclosed plans for the Sunday session did so on condition of anonymity, saying no public announcement had yet been made.


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