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Senate to meet every day until debt hike passes

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Monday, July 18 2011 11:19 a.m. MDT

WASHINGTON — The leader of the Senate says the chamber will meet every day — including weekends — until Congress sends President Barack Obama legislation to make sure the government doesn't default on its obligations.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said there's no more important task than ensuring the U.S. pays its obligations, including Social Security checks. Congress faces an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt limit to avoid a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. obligations.

"The Senate has no more important task than making sure the United States does not fail to pay our bills," Reid said in a statement. "To ensure that we meet this responsibility, the Senate will stay in session every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, from now until Congress passes legislation that prevents the United States from defaulting on our obligations."

Reid is working with GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on a plan to give Obama sweeping authority to issue new debt without approval by Congress. But tea party forces will first have their day with a House vote on a separate plan requiring immediate spending cuts and adoption of a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget as a condition of raising the so-called debt limit.

The Senate is expected to vote on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget this week, but it's virtually certain to fail to receive the 67 votes required to pass.

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