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Obama invites top senators for debt talks

Jun 24, 2011 12:45:00 PM - thestate.com
Stepping directly into stalled debt talks, President Barack Obama is inviting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell to separate meetings Monday, shifting the negotiations to the highest levels.

The White House meetings, announced Friday by press secretary Jay Carney, would seek to pick up where negotiations headed by Vice President Joe Biden left off. Republican negotiators abandoned those talks Thursday over Democrats' insistence on including tax increases in any deficit-reduction plan.

McConnell has been demanding that Obama become personally involved in the budget discussions.

Congressional Republicans want to reach a deal on about $2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years before agreeing to raise the nation's borrowing limit, currently capped at $14.3 trillion. The Treasury Department has said it has until Aug. 2 before its ability to pay U.S. debt runs out.

Obama has repeatedly called for a "balanced framework" for long-term deficit reduction, saying cuts in spending are necessary but that additional tax revenue should also be part of the equation. Democrats insist that additional revenues be found by closing tax breaks, alongside the trillions of dollars in spending cuts.

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