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US Senate, House Working on Funding, Debt Bills

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Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are negotiating plans to reopen the government and prevent a default on American debt that could have harmful effects on the global economy.

Republican lawmakers say the House plans to vote on a bill Tuesday that would reopen the government and avoid a financial default, But the White House and House Democratic leaders immediately rejected that plan.

The bill, and another proposed in the Senate, would fund the government for three months and raise the government's debt limit for nearly four months .

The House plan asks for two concessions on the new U.S. health care reform bill. These include a two-year delay of a medical device tax and the elimination of health care subsidies for U.S. President Barack Obama, his Cabinet officials, and members of Congress.

Mr. Obama has refused to negotiate reforms to the health care law, known as "Obamacare."



Lawmakers say the Senate might not sign off on its plan until Wednesday, close to a Thursday deadline when the U.S. Treasury Department has said it will reach its borrowing limit and risk default.

House leaders said Tuesday there should be no "special treatment" for anybody under the health care law. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Republican plan "sabotaging of any effort to move forward."

If the debt ceiling is not raised by Thursday, the United States may not be able to pay all its bills. It is unclear whether Congress can meet that deadline even if Democratic and Republican party leaders reach a deal in the Senate. Conservative hardliners such as Texas Republican Ted Cruz might force a delay in a final vote.

House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday the United States will not default on its financial obligations.



"There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go. there have been no decisions about what exactly we will do. But we are going to continue work with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to make sure that there is no issue of default and to get our government reopened."



Any deal must be approved by the full House and Senate before it can be signed by President Obama.

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