Congressional leaders meet about the fiscal cliff

(L-R) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) speak to the media at the White House on Nov. 16, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Congressional leaders met with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss deficit reduction and other economic issues.

As of right now, we've got 45 days until the fiscal cliff deadline. And if congressional leaders are to be believed, we might not actually go over the edge.

They met with the president at the White House today. Did that statement-on-the-White-House-driveway thing right afterward, and seemed pretty collegial all the while. But the Weekly Wrappers, Leigh Gallagher from Fortune Magazine and John Carney from CNBC, were skeptical.

"First of all, I want to point out that any deal they form is just 'fiscal cliff lite' because remember what the fiscal cliff is: spending getting cut, taxes going up," says Carney. "If they make a deal, that's maybe going to happen, just not as much. But really, Grover Norquist was on CNBC a few hours after this meeting came out...and sounded confident that any deal that got cut would not involve raising taxes. And Obama says any deal that gets cut has to involve raising taxes. I don't think they're really getting closer."

"Common ground is the new 'kick the can down the road,'" agreed Gallagher. "Everyone's talking about it, everyone wants it. The Republican brand is damaged, and they know that they have to come off as seeming like they're willing to compromise. But the fact is, the positions are very, very, very far apart."

For all of the conversation, take a listen above.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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