10 Nov 2012

Obama invites party leaders for talks on 'fiscal cliff'

10:11 am on 10 November 2012

US President Barack Obama has invited party leaders to the White House next week for talks on a deal to avert a looming budget crisis.

He says Congress must act against the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of tax rises and spending cuts due early next year.

In his first White House appearance since winning the presidential election Mr Obama said the wealthy must pay more taxes under any political deal, but stated he was open to new ideas.

"I'm committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced."

Under a deal reached last year between President Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress, existing stimulus measures - mostly tax cuts - will expire on 1 January 2013.

Unless Congress acts, cuts to defence, education and other government spending will then automatically come into force, the BBC reports.

The International Monetary Fund has repeatedly warned that failure by US lawmakers to reach a deal would deepen uncertainty over the global economy.

Mr Obama has repeatedly called for the affluent to pay more, but such a plan is anathema to Republicans.