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Obama 'optimistic' after fiscal cliff talks

  • U.S. President Barack Obama has called for "immediate action" to avoid a fiscal cliff following talks with Congressional leaders.

    Speaking after the meeting on Friday, he urged politicians to agree to a deal, saying: "The hour for immediate action is here. It is now."

    He added he remained "optimistic" that an agreement could be met before $600 billion worth of automatic tax increases and spending cuts kick in at the start of next year, which could lead the U.S. economy into recession.

    Obama went on to describe the hour-long meeting with Congressional leaders as "good and constructive".

    Senate leaders have said they hope to reach a deal that could be presented to lawmakers by Sunday, just 24 hours before the year-end deadline.

    The automatic cuts are set to take place because Congress failed to reach a deal on deficit reduction after a deadlock over the U.S. debt ceiling in mid-2011.

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