Congress seeks debt result, Obama goes to public

By Jim Kuhnhenn

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, July 16 2011 1:31 a.m. MDT

President Barack Obama answers questions on the ongoing budget negotiations during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 15, 2011.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Congress is working on dual tracks and racing against the clock to raise the nation's debt ceiling while President Barack Obama appeals directly to the public in hopes of influencing a deficit-reduction deal that failed to materialize during talks he led at the White House.

As a critical Aug. 2 deadline approaches, House Republicans are preparing to hold a vote next week to allow an increase in the debt ceiling through 2012 as long as Congress approves a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, a highly unlikely outcome.

In the Senate, the Republican and Democratic leaders are working on a bipartisan plan to allow Obama to raise the debt limit without a prior vote by lawmakers. The talks focused on how to address long-term deficit reduction in the proposal to satisfy House Republicans.

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