Obama invites congressional leaders for "fiscal cliff" talks

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Obama invites congressional leaders for "fiscal cliff" talks

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Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders for talks over the looming budget crisis and stressed he’s open to compromise.

The US President says a deal must be struck before the end of the year to avoid spending cuts and sharp tax rises for everyone.

“I’m open to new ideas,” he said in his first White House appearance since defeating Republican Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s election.

“I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced.” He again pushed for higher taxes for wealthier Americans.

The “fiscal cliff” of steep government spending cuts and tax increases due to be implemented under existing law in early 2013 may cut the federal budget deficit, but economists warn it also could tip the economy back into recession.