* Lawmakers work to draft deal by Monday
* Obama officials to make president's case on TV Sunday
* Leaders aim to show progress before Asian markets open
By Alister Bull
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress toiled on Sunday
to hammer out a deficit cutting compromise in the next 24
hours, hoping to assure markets before they open in Asia that
the U.S. credit rating was safe from a disastrous default.
President Barack Obama, a Democrat, told congressional
leaders during an emergency White House meeting on Saturday to
find a way to lift the debt ceiling that would allow the
country to pay its bills past next year's November election.
A Republican leadership aide said lawmakers were working on
a plan for $3 trillion to $4 trillion in savings over 10 years,
but another high-ranking Republican official said no numbers
had been set.
Republican leaders want "to show progress" by 4 p.m. EDT on
Sunday, before financial market trading gets underway in the
"Congressional leaders are working in good faith with the
goal of having something to present to their members on
Monday," a second Republican aide said.
It was not clear if this package contained any additional
revenue alongside cuts in government spending, as Obama has
A Democratic aide said Republicans were pushing a package
that raised the debt limit and cut spending in two steps, while
Democrats want a single deal to cover borrowing through 2012.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House chief
of staff Bill Daley were scheduled to speak on several Sunday
TV news shows to hammer home Obama's argument that a deal must
include more revenue from taxes.
Talks broke down on Friday after Republicans balked at a
White House plan to raise revenues by $3.5-$4 trillion over 10
years, complaining it contained $400 billion more in additional
tax revenue than they could stomach.
Obama, angry at the collapse of negotiations, chided
Republicans and warned that time had run out to lift the $14.3
trillion U.S. borrowing limit, which faces an Aug. 2 deadline
before the United States runs out of money to pay its bills.
He kept up the pressure on Saturday, urging Congress not to
play "reckless political games" and warning against stop-gap
measures that fail to tackle the deficit.
"A short-term extension could cause our country's credit
rating to be downgraded," said White House press secretary Jay
Carney in a statement after Obama's 50-minute meeting with
Rating agencies say they will cut America's Triple-A credit
rating if the United States fails to meet debt payments, likely
triggering global market turmoil. Even if the United States
does not default, its rating will be under pressure if Congress
fails to tackle long-term deficit reduction.
Financial markets are growing more edgy and U.S. banks and
businesses are making contingency plans for the possibility of
a debt default that would drive up interest rates, sink the
dollar and ripple through economies around the world.
Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, promised that Congress
this weekend "will forge a responsible path forward", and that
House and Senate leaders will work to find a bipartisan
solution to "significantly reduce Washington spending and
preserve the full faith and credit of the United States."
But Boehner must overcome stout resistance from Tea Party
movement conservatives in his own party, who adamantly oppose
any steps to raise tax revenue.
(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, Laura MacInnis,
Matt Spetalnick, Andy Sullivan and Donna Smith)
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