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Obama must lead effort to avoid fiscal cliff: Boehner

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner addresses the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Flori
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner addresses the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Flori

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Friday called on President Barack Obama to lead the efforts to avert the $600 billion "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts looming at year's end, but stood by his opposition to any tax rate increases on the wealthy.

Boehner spoke shortly before Obama was to give his first public comments since his win on Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

"I am hopeful that productive conversations can begin soon," Boehner said. He then repeated he would staunchly oppose higher tax rates on the wealthy, which Obama made a key theme of his re-election campaign.

"You can put revenue on the table through fixing our broken tax system, getting our economy going again and getting more Americans back to work," Boehner said.

(Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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