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via BBC News

The US president and Congressional leaders have voiced optimism over resolving the fiscal cliff of tax rises and spending cuts at the end of 2012.

Barack Obama met with leaders at the White House, with Republicans sounding more inclined to back higher taxes in some form.

“I feel confident that a solution may be in sight,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Fears about the so-called fiscal cliff have hurt stocks in recent weeks.

After the meeting, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner said his party – which controls the House – was willing to consider increased revenue “as long as it is accompanied by spending cuts”.

Mr Obama met with Mr Boehner, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (a Democrat), Senate majority leader Harry Reid (a Democrat), Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (a Republican), as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

President Obama has called for high earners in the US to pay more in taxes.

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.”

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