President Barack Obama waves to reporters as he steps off the Marine One helicopter and walks on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, as he returns early from his Hawaii vacation for meetings on the fiscal cliff. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders have arrived at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama in an eleventh-hour effort to avert a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts.

House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi arrived at the White House separately for the 3 p.m. session.

Obama was expected to present a proposal to extend current tax rates to all but the wealthiest Americans, extend aid for the jobless and other measures that need immediate congressional attention.

Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also were attending. The session represented hope for a deal before Dec. 31, after which higher taxes and spending cuts would kick in.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.