Tuesday in politics: Congress returns, Obama meets with labor leaders, and more

Phil Pruitt

Congress convenes Tuesday after a long election-season recess. At the top of the agenda: The fiscal cliff.

President Barack Obama meets with labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday. At the top of the agenda: The fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff is a package of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts set to kick in at the end of the year. Economists have warned that failing to avoid the fiscal cliff could severely weaken the economy, if not shove it back into recession.

Congressional Republicans and the White House have signaled the potential for cooperation and compromise on reaching a deal, but at this early stage "potential" is the operative word.

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Also worth noting on Tuesday: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi plans a Capitol Hill news conference with newly elected colleagues. The press conference comes a day before a House Democratic Caucus meeting. Pelosi, 72, is expected to tell her colleagues during that closed-door meeting whether she wants to continue as the top Democrat in the House.

And then there is this: Washington will continue to be abuzz about the Gen. David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal, which seems to add new names daily. The latest: American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. He is under investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications" with Jill Kelley, who is said to have received threatening emails from Broadwell. Kelley has been described as an unpaid social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

And this: President Obama has scheduled a Wednesday news conference: At the top of the agenda: It's likely to be the fiscal cliff.

Sources: Yahoo! News, Reuters, National Journal, Associated Press