WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional leaders are voicing confidence they can reach a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
After a closed-door meeting with President Barack Obama today, House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) declared, "I believe we can do this."
Lawmakers need to reach a deal with the president to avert a series of tax increases and spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
There's optimism from both sides. Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said, "We understand our responsibility," adding she feels confident that a solution may be in sight.
None of the lawmakers made any mention of the big sticking point -- Obama's insistence that tax rates go up, as scheduled, at the start of the year for individuals making over $200,000 a year and families making over $250,000. Republicans flatly oppose that.
Still, the optimism was reflected on Wall Street. The stock market started lower today but closed higher following the Congressional leaders' meeting with Obama.
One chief market strategist at a New York-based broker says just getting all sides together is a good start.