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Debt face-off shifts to Congress, bargain in play

Jul 15, 2011 4:10:00 AM - thestate.com
Negotiations to increase the nation's debt ceiling shifted to Congress where Republican and Democratic leaders were assessing the mood of their members even as an intricate but potentially face-saving deal to avoid an unprecedented government default was taking shape in the Senate.

With an Aug. 2 deadline looming and no compromise jelling at the White House, President Barack Obama had to settle Friday for asking congressional leaders to take three deficit reduction options to their members to see which, if any, could win a vote in the House and Senate.

Meanwhile, a proposal the White House has termed a "fallback option" was taking root in the Senate as a likely alternative to the brinkmanship that has defined negotiations to secure an increase in the government's borrowing authority.

Obama, who had vowed to meet with congressional leaders every day until a debt limit deal was struck, did not schedule a session for Friday and instead asked leaders to gauge the temperament of their caucuses and to report back to him in 24 to 36 hours. White House officials said a meeting could still be scheduled this weekend.

Obama planned an 11 a.m. news conference Friday to discuss the status of debt limit talks, his second this week. House Republicans and House Democrats planned their own membership meetings earlier in the morning.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)