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'Not near finish line' on fiscal cliff talks

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders in the week after Thanksgiving to discuss the "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and spending reductions, and he remains committed to fighting off a tax increase for most Americans, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Saturday.

But Carney refused to provide details of the agreement Obama is negotiating with the country's top lawmakers.

"Everyone expressed the desire to reach an agreement that reflected the shared goal of achieving a balanced approach to deficit reduction and that enabled the economy to continue to grow and create jobs," Carney told reporters about Obama's Friday meeting with the most powerful members of both parties in Congress.

"There are a number of steps that I'm sure the President and leaders will consider but I don't want to characterize what that process will look like because we're not near the finish line, by any means," he said.

If the federal government cannot reach a compromise, then starting in January about $600 billion worth of tax increases and spending reductions will kick in. Economists have warned that the sudden shock could plunge the United States back into a recession.


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