GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- Congressional leaders voiced confidence late this week that they can reach a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
After a closed-door meeting with President Barack Obama Friday, House Speaker John Boehner 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.
On Saturday, Senator Al Franken sat down with KARE 11's Blake McCoy to discuss the looming deadline.
"I believe we're going to avoid a fiscal cliff. I believe we're going to work together for a balanced approach. That's what we have to do," Franken said.
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 Friday but spiked higher shortly before midday 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.
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