Updated 1:36 p.m. ET - Capitol Hill leaders emerged from their meeting Friday with President Barack Obama sounding optimistic about their ability to reach consensus on vexing tax and spending issues and avoid the impending "fiscal cliff."
Just weeks before an end of year deadline -- when a series of income tax cuts are set to expire just as billions in automatic spending cuts stipulated in the 2011 debt ceiling deal will take effect -- House and Senate leaders suggested they had made progress during their first meeting with President Barack Obama since he won re-election last week.
"I think we're all aware that we have some urgent business to do," Obama said at the top of the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to his right and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to his left.
That urgency, apparently, was not lost on Republican and Democratic leaders who appeared jointly after the hourlong meeting to express their optimism that a deal was within reach. The word of the day was "constructive," a term which each leader used to describe their talks on Friday.
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