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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President before Meeting with Congressional Leadership

Roosevelt Room

10:25 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I want to welcome the congressional leadership here and thank them for their time.  I think we're all aware that we have some urgent business to do.  We've got to make sure that taxes don't go up on middle-class families, that our economy remains strong, that we're creating jobs.   And that's an agenda that Democrats and Republicans and independents, people all across the country share.

So our challenge is to make sure that we are able to cooperate together, work together, find some common ground, make some tough compromises, build some consensus to do the people’s business.  And what folks are looking for -- and I think all of us agree on this -- is action.  They want to see that we are focused on them, not focused on our politics here in Washington.

So my hope is, is that this is going to be the beginning of a fruitful process where we're able to come to an agreement that will reduce our deficit in a balanced way, that we will deal with some of these long-term impediments to growth, and we're also going to be focusing on making sure that middle-class families are able to get ahead.

So I want to thank all the leadership for coming.  And with that, we're going to get to work.  Thank you very much, everybody.

Oh, wait, wait, excuse me.  There’s actually one other point that I want to make, and that is that my understanding is tomorrow is Speaker Boehner’s birthday.  So for those of you who want to wish him happy birthday we will -- we're not going to embarrass him with a cake because we didn’t know how many candles were needed.  (Laughter.) 

SPEAKER BOEHNER:  Yeah, right.  (Laughter.) 

THE PRESIDENT:  But we do want to wish him a happy birthday. 

SPEAKER BOEHNER:  Thank you.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.

10:27 A.M. EST