Obama officials, lawmakers set for talks and debt-cutting

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Fiscal cliff

(AP image)

WASHINGTON (AP) – An administration official says two of President Barack Obama’s top negotiators on the “fiscal cliff” will meet separately on Thursday with leading lawmakers.

The sessions are seen as an important step in determining how the government will avoid a year-end package of tax increases and spending cuts that could throw the economy into recession.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House legislative chief Rob Nabors will meet on Thursday with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings had not yet been publicly announced.

The meetings will take place on Capitol Hill.

The President says he believes that members of both parties can reach a framework on a debt-cutting deal before Christmas.

Obama was joined by about a dozen middle-class Americans who have raised concerns about their taxes going up at the end of the year.

He says lawmakers face important deadlines in the coming weeks but the voices of the American people need to be a part of the debate.

Obama says we need to “approach this problem with the middle-class in mind.”

The president is urging the public to pressure Congress through social media, pointing to #My2K on Twitter – a reference to the estimated $2,200 tax increase a typical middle-class family of four would see if the Bush tax cuts expire.

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