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Obama Says ‘Optimistic’ Fiscal Cliff Agreement Can Be Reached

Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said he’s “modestly optimistic” Congress can pass a bill to avert more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January.

“Let’s not miss this deadline,” Obama said at the White House, following a meeting with the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress.

“The American people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy,” he said. The Congressional Budget Office has said that if Congress doesn’t act, the tax and spending changes might cause a recession in the first half of 2013.

Obama said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky agreed to work on “a potential agreement.” If that can’t be done, he called for a vote on his plan that he outlined Dec. 21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at mtalev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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