Lawmakers to meet Obama,seek debt deal

Lawmakers to meet Obama,seek debt deal

Officials said Obama was to urge leaders to pass bill raising debt ceiling and reopening the govt.

With the clock ticking towards a default on US government obligations,Senate negotiators on Monday moved towards a deal that would reopen the government through the end of the year,raise the debt ceiling into 2014,start broader budget negotiations and offer only token concessions to Republicans on President Obama’s healthcare law.

Senate talks were expected to accelerate Monday afternoon,with the aim of sealing an agreement by Tuesday,just two days before the federal government exhausts its borrowing authority. The biggest question is whether bipartisan support in the Senate would be enough to force House Republicans to bring the deal to a vote,given the insistence by some House conservatives that major elements of the healthcare law needed to be delayed.

“There are always lots of perils,but there does seem to be a possible path forward,” said Senator Charles Schumer of New York,the No. 3 Senate Democrat.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada,the majority leader,emerged early in the afternoon from the office of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,the Republican leader,to say a deal is not done.


“We’re continuing to work. It’s not done yet,” he said. Asked if senators will have something to present to the president this afternoon,he responded,“Sure hope so.”

Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden were to meet with top Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress on Monday afternoon,administration officials said. In a statement,a White House official said the president intended to urge the leaders to pass a bill that raises the debt ceiling and reopens the government.

“With only a few days until the government runs out of borrowing authority,the president will make clear the need for Congress to act to pay our bills and reopen the government,” the official said. “The president will also reiterate our principles to the leaders: we will not pay a ransom for Congress reopening the government and raising the debt limit.”

Senator John McCain,Republican of Arizona,warned on the CBS News programme Face the Nation that the Democrats “better understand something”. “What goes around comes around,” he said,“and if they try to humiliate Republicans,things change in American politics.”