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Obama, Boehner optimistic on fiscal cliff

U.S. President Barack Obama says he hopes that he can reach a deal with Congress avoid the looming "fiscal cliff." (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Our ultimate goal is an agreement that gets our long term deficit under control in a way that is fair and balanced. (Edit) I believe that both parties can agree on a framework that does that in the coming weeks. In fact, my hope is to get this done before Christmas." Speaker of the House John Boehner said Republicans were willing to look at revenue increase as long as tax rates are not raised. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER SAYING: "You are not going to grow the economy if you raise taxes on the top two rates. It will hurt small businesses, it will hurt our economy, that is why this is not the right approach. We are willing to put revenue on the table, as long as we are not raising rates." Without a deal some 600 billion dollars in tax increases and spending cuts will go into effect early next year. Top policymakers say these austerity measures could tip the U.S. economy back into a recession.

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