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Obama, Senate leaders to meet on deficit

June 24, 2011 at 6:35 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama said Friday he and Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Senate leaders to discuss deficit reduction strategy talks.

Obama and Biden will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Monday morning and with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during the evening to talk over "the status of the negotiations to find common ground on a balanced approach to deficit reduction," the White House said.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walked out on talks Thursday over whether to raise the debt limit, saying Republican and Democratic head-butting over taxes had led to an impasse, and it was time for the president to become directly involved in negotiations.

"There is not support in the House for a tax increase and I don't believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation," Cantor said. "Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue."

Obama met privately with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House Wednesday.

Democratic leaders wanted as much as $400 billion in new taxes on corporations and the nation's richest households, The Washington Post said. Republicans have consistently ruled out raising taxes.

"The President is willing to make tough choices, but he cannot ask the middle class and seniors to bear all the burden for deficit reduction and to sacrifice while millionaires and billionaires and special interests get off the hook -- are let off the hook," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Friday."We believe that we can move forward as long as no one in the talks takes a 'my way or the highway' approach," Carney said.

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