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Obama: Some progress being made in debt talks

July 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that there has been "some progress" in negotiations with bipartisan lawmakers over raising the nation's debt ceiling.

But Obama says lawmakers are nearing the "11th hour" as an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling nears. He praised a proposal from leaders of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" who say they're nearing agreement on a major plan to cut the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the coming decade.

The president's statement came as House Republicans move toward a vote Tuesday on a measure they say will "cut, cap and balance" the national budget.

The plan would let the government borrow another $2.4 trillion - but only after big and immediate spending cuts and adoption by Congress of a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

The plan is doomed in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the White House has promised a veto.

The symbolic vote comes as a bipartisan group of senators prepares to unveil their own plan. That measure would slash trillions of dollars over the next 10 years.

While both sides are crafting plans to balance the budget, there's little common ground between the two.

President Barack Obama demanded that tax increases on the wealthy and selected corporations be included alongside cuts in benefit programs, but Republicans refused.

If a deal is not reached in time, Obama has warned that there is no guarantee that Social Security checks will go out next month. Republicans say it's just a scare tactic.

Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate will meet each day until the issue is resolved, including weekends.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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