US lawmakers voice new confidence in deficit deal
``Yeah, right,'' said Boehner, who's turning 63 on Saturday, chuckling as he playfully poked the president in the elbow.
There was no indication that the meeting touched on Obama's campaign-long call to raise tax rates at upper incomes.
In their public comments, neither the president nor the lawmakers dwelt on long- tanding differences that doomed previous deficit negotiations. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell came closest, telling reporters that while Republicans are willing to discuss increased revenue, most members of his party ``believe we are in the dilemma we are in not because we tax too little but because we spend too much.''
After the meeting, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, ``Both sides agreed that while there may be differences in our preferred approaches, we will continue a constructive process to find a solution and come to a conclusion as soon as possible.''
For all the expressions of optimism, it was unclear whether the Nov. 6 elections and the prospect of the so-called fiscal cliff would serve as a strong enough catalyst for these talks to succeed where other recent attempts have failed.
Obama ran for a new term calling for a ``balanced approach'' to deficit reduction that includes raising taxes on income over $200,000 a year for individuals and $250,000 for couples. And while the president has stated a willingness to
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