The meeting this past Friday between the top four Congressional leaders and the White House seems to have been productive, at least, as a first step toward resolving the fiscal cliff issue.
Leaders from both parties and aides to President Obama agreed to make concessions to achieve a deal.
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The top two Democratic leaders, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agreed to curb spending on entitlement programs, specifically Medicare and Social Security.
The top two Republican leaders, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said they were ready to put revenues on the table to fix the real problems, referring to adapting entitlement programs to fit the demographics of the nation and to reducing the deficit.
What remains to be decided are the specific amounts of cuts and also of revenue raised and when it would all be enacted.
The White House has said it would not extend current tax laws for those making above $250,000 per year.
The Republicans have said they would not agree to a tax hike. The important takeaways from the meeting on Friday are that the two sides indicated a strong willingness to compromise and that a deal would involve two stages, one of which is pointed toward reducing the deficit this year.
The clearest takeaway was that the two sides are converging on similar ideas. The most remarkable change in dynamic was the lack of partisan jockeying
, which is a remarkable shift in tone so soon after the election.