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US Senate, House Working on Funding, Debt Proposals



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

A Republican-led House plan would fund the government through December 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 plan includes reopening government and a short-term debt limit increase and would start negotiations on spending cuts. Senate Democrats oppose attaching health care or any other issues to such a measure.

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.

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



Unless the debt ceiling is raised by Thursday, the United States may not be able to pay all its bills. The Fitch credit rating agency placed the U.S. on its "rating watch negative" list Tuesday -- a warning that Fitch could downgrade the U.S.' top "AAA" rating.

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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