(Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA Today - The Oval
President Obama is looking for new allies in the fiscal cliff fight, meeting Tuesday with a group of six governors at the White House.
Obama and Vice President Biden will speak with the state executives about "the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit," says a White House statement.
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The president's guests include three Republican governors -- one of them Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose battles with public employee unions made headlines throughout the recent election season.
Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., chairman of the National Governors Association, will also be in the meeting with Obama. So will the NGA Vice Chair, Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okl.
The other attendees: Gov. Mike Beebe, D-Ark., Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., and Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah.
The sit-down comes as the White House and congressional Republicans tangle over whether a debt reduction plan should include higher tax rates for wealthy Americans.
The parties are seeking to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," a series of automatic tax hikes and budget cuts that take effect in the absence of an agreement.
"Governors have a lot at stake in this process," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "They have an interest in seeing Washington get its fiscal house in order. They have an interest in seeing Washington take action to ensure that the economy continues to grow."
Also on Obama's schedule Tuesday: A lunch with Biden, and a meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.