Debt face-off shifts to Congress, bargain in play

By Jim Kuhnhenn

Associated Press

Published: Friday, July 15 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner listens at right, as Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nev., makes remarks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 14, 2011, after a meeting with Democrats on the debt limit.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Negotiations to increase the nation's debt ceiling shift to Congress where Republican and Democratic leaders are assessing the mood of their members while a potentially face-saving deal to avoid an unprecedented government default is 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, can win a vote in the House and Senate.

Meanwhile, a proposal the White House calls a "fallback option" is 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.

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