Obama Meeting With
Labor Leaders on US Fiscal Cliff
November 13, 2012
U.S. labor leaders are meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday,
calling on him to reject deep cuts in pensions and health care for the
elderly as he works to resolve crucial government financial issues by
the end of the year.
Newly re-elected, Obama is turning this week toward a series of talks at
the White House with union chiefs, corporate executives and
congressional leaders about the country's looming "fiscal cliff." The
financial precipice comprises $600 billion in mandated spending cuts and
tax increases set to take effect January 1. They are contentious
provisions the president and his Republican political opponents are
seeking to avoid, but have been unable to reach agreement on for two
Major U.S. labor organizations lent vast funding and campaign support
for Obama's re-election victory last week over Republican challenger
Mitt Romney. They share the president's wish to increase taxes on the
country's wealthiest households, those making more than $250,000 a year,
a tax law change opposed by Obama's Republican opponents in Congress.
But the labor leaders are also seeking assurances from Obama that he
will maintain current spending for the government pension and health
care plans for the elderly. The extent of spending for the two social
programs is likely to be a focal point of negotiations between the White
House and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Wednesday, Obama is planning a news conference, as well as talks with
executives from some of America's largest corporations, such as General
Electric and American Express. Many of the U.S.'s most prominent
financial titans supported Romney in the campaign, but the president is
hoping to enlist their support in persuading Republican lawmakers to
vote for increasing taxes on the wealthiest families as part of what he
has called a "balanced" plan of cutting spending and increasing
The chief executives of 17 big U.S. companies have written lawmakers
urging them to reach a compromise on the spending and tax issues.
Obama is meeting Friday with congressional leaders about how to resolve
their long-standing stalemate. The president is leaving Washington
Saturday on a four-day trip to Asia.