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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite an intensifying pace, little progress is being reported in talks on averting automatic spending cuts and tax increases that economists fear could send the U.S. economy off a “fiscal cliff.”

House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke on the phone Tuesday, a day after the president offered to reduce his initial demand for $1.6 trillion in higher tax revenue over a decade to $1.4 trillion. But Obama continued to insist that much of the revenue come from raising top tax rates on the wealthy.

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