Democrats, Republicans and President Obama set to meet today for fiscal cliff talks

In a bid to assuage markets that the U.S. federal government will act to prevent the fiscal cliff from dealing a potential death-blow to the economy, President Barack Obama, his Democratic allies and House Republicans are to meet today for the beginning of what many expect to be acrimonious negotiations. While both sides of the political spectrum have expressed hope that the group of leaders will hash out a beneficial compromise, some fear a repeat of the 2011 debt ceiling talks that cost the United States a perfect credit rating and set the stage for this year's conflict.

Yesterday, politicians from both major parties drew their ideological lines in the sand, setting the stage for what could be a contentious debate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters during a press conference that his colleagues remain committed against any form of tax hike in the final deal.

"I will concede that the president's argument that upper-end taxpayers ought to pay more plays well with voters, [but] you can't tax your way out of the problem," the Republican from Kentucky was quoted as saying.

Congressional Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who was recently confirmed for another term as House Minority Leader, told reporters that she hoped for positive outcome, especially in light of last year's failed talks.

"Let us go to the table in good faith that we want something to happen," she said. "If nothing happens, the consequences will be great."

Other important U.S. officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Speaker of the House John Boehner will also be present for the negotiations.

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