WASHINGTON (AP) — An end of the year deadline rapidly approaching, top Obama administration officials went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to press the White House case for raising tax rates on upper-bracket earners.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's sojourn to the Capitol came after President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner conferred briefly Wednesday night by phone on how to avert the economy-rattling "fiscal cliff." It was their first one-on-one discussion in five days.

Obama and Boehner's 15-minute phone call came amid increasing anxiety that the White House and top Republicans are wasting time needed to negotiate a way out of a series of tax increases and spending cuts due to begin in January. Geithner and senior White House aide Rob Nabors came to Capitol Hill to visit separately Thursday with the four leaders of the House and Senate.

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