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Obama to meet with congressional leaders Friday on budget cuts

Better late than never. 

President Obama plans to meet Friday with the top four congressional leaders, presumably to discuss a way forward as automatic budget cuts begin to take effect. 

The meeting comes after a long hiatus, as both sides spent the last several weeks blaming each other for the $85 billion in cuts that start to kick in this Friday. 

The Senate is expected to take up dueling bills Thursday to avert and replace those cuts, but it's unclear whether either would have a chance at passing. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's office confirmed to Fox News that Obama will meet with congressional leaders Friday. 

"The meeting Friday is an opportunity for us to visit with the President about how we can all keep our commitment to reduce Washington spending," he said in a statement. "With a $16.6 trillion national debt, and a promise to the American people to address it, one thing is perfectly clear: we will cut Washington spending." 

McConnell reiterated that Republicans will not accept "another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to." 

Obama and his Democratic allies have pushed aggressively for Congress to agree to a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to replace the so-called sequester.