President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are meeting at the White House, with billions of dollars in automatic budget cuts ready to start kicking in.

Green water flows in the fountain on the South Lawn of the White House in celebration of St. Patrick's day (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

The meeting got under way shortly after 10 a.m. EST. Representing Republicans are House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are the Democratic leaders in the meeting.

No breakthrough is expected to come out of the talks. But the meeting is an opportunity for all sides to stake out their fiscal positions with the threat of a government shutdown looming less than four weeks away.

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