No joke.

Via ABC News:

They are finally going to have a meeting.

A congressional source with direct knowledge of the plans tells me the top four congressional leaders – John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell – will meet with President Obama at the White House Friday to attempt to negotiate a way to avoid the spending cuts that both sides have said should be avoided.

This meeting – the first one the president has had with Republican leaders to talk about the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester – will come after the cuts actually go into effect (midnight Thursday).

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not confirm the meeting, but the source told ABC News that the White House reached out to the congressional leadership Tuesday afternoon to request the meeting.