Hill leaders buoyed by White House talks on fiscal cliff

  • President Barack Obama, flanked by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama, flanked by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaks to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy in Washington.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaks to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • President Barack Obama pauses as he hosts a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012,  in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. From left are, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the president, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama pauses as he hosts a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. From left are, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the president, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • President Barack Obama acknowledges House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio while speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama acknowledges House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio while speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosted a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, during a meeting to discuss the deficit and economy.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, during a meeting to discuss the deficit and economy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, followed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., leaves the White House the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, to speak to the media after meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, followed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., leaves the White House the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, to speak to the media after meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, following their meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, following their meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, followed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., left, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., approaches the microphones outside the White House in Washington on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, to speaks to reporters following their meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, followed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., left, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., approaches the microphones outside the White House in Washington on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, to speaks to reporters following their meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  •  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from left, accompanied by, from left, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, following their meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from left, accompanied by, from left, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, following their meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the economy and the deficit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

She also said she was more focused in the meeting on sending the public a “message of confidence” so that consumers and financial markets will be calmed, knowing that an agreement is in the works.

“We should have a goal in terms of how much deficit reduction, we should have a deadline before Christmas, we should share some milestones of success so that confidence can build as we reach our solution,” she said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney also called the meeting “productive.”

“Both sides agreed that while there may be differences in our preferred approaches, we will continue a constructive process to find a solution and come to a conclusion as soon as possible,” Mr. Carney said in a statement.

Because changes to the tax code and entitlement programs are too complex to complete by the end of the year, aides said Mr. Boehner’s goal in the coming weeks is to settle on targets for long-term revenue and savings from entitlement programs.

“Once we settle on those targets, the speaker proposed, we can create simple mechanisms in statute that would achieve those revenue and spending goals,” according to one Boehner aide. “They would be in place unless or until more thoughtful policies replace them.”

Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees staff will spend the next week working on the framework with the goal of presenting it to congressional leaders when they return to Washington after the Thanksgiving holiday. They will then work on negotiating the finer points of a deal over the next few weeks and pass the framework the weekend before Christmas.

— Staff writer Susan Crabtree contributed to this article.

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