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US Senate, House Working on Funding, Debt Bills



U.S. House and Senate leaders are negotiating separate bills to end the two-week-old partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling so the country can keep paying its bills.

Republicans say the House plans to vote later Tuesday on a bill to fund the government through January 15 and raise the debt ceiling through February 7. It would also make changes to President Barack Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate bill includes reopening government and a short-term debt limit and would open negotiations on spending cuts. Senate Democrats oppose attaching the health care law, known popularly as Obamacare,
or any other issues to such a bill.

House Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of "sabotaging" what is happening in the Senate by considering a bill that Democrats oppose and the president likely would veto.

But Pelosi said after talks with President Barack Obama that she is still optimistic the debt ceiling will be raised in time to avoid default.



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

OPTIONAL SOUNDBITE

John Boehner, Republican, Speaker of the House:

"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."

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