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J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, following the Democrats' weekly policy meeting.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are showing far more flexibility than their tea party-backed House colleagues as Washington policymakers seek to steer the government away from a first-ever default on its financial obligations.

Many in the Senate GOP are warming to a new bipartisan budget plan that counts on new tax revenues to slash the federal deficit by almost $4 trillion over a decade.

That's even as House Republicans on Tuesday passed a plan that would require big and immediate spending cuts and passage by Congress of an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget as the price for a $2.4 trillion increase in the government's borrowing authority.

That "cut, cap and balance" plan has drawn a White House veto threat and is a dead duck in the Democratic-controlled Senate.