The Washington Times - December 27, 2012, 09:23PM

With just a narrow window remaining to strike a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders Friday afternoon at the White House.

The 3 p.m. meeting include all of the top Washington players: Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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The White House confirmed the sit-down in a tersely worded release Thursday evening.

The face-to-face meeting with leaders from both parties is the first since Mr. Obama cut short his Hawaiian vacation to return to budget negotiations in Washington, D.C. and comes after a day in which Republicans and Democrats continued to blame each other for the lack of progress.

If both sides don’t reach a deal by Dec. 31, the nation will face the the double whammy of tax increases and severe across-the-board spending cuts — a combination that could wreak havoc on the economy.

While neither side has hinted about a potential deal in the works, the White House sit down comes as Republican leaders called House members back to Washington for an unusual Sunday session, a day before the deadline.

Mr. Boehner this week has repeatedly said it’s the Senate’s turn to offer a compromise deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, and his spokesman echoed that sentiment Thursday.

“[Mr. Boehner] will continue to stress that the House has already passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff and now the Senate must act,” Brendan Buck said in a statement accepting the invitation to meet Friday.

A spokesman for Mr. McConnell said his boss is “eager” to hear from the president.