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Thursday, June 30, 2011

President Obama wants Congress work against and with the clock or long history procrastination conspiring in America

President Barack Obama makes an opening statement during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)American President Barack Obama has Isaac Bassett and a long history of procrastination conspiring against him from 1844 until his death in 1895, Bassett, the Senate's stately assistant doorkeeper, would lift a long pole and turn back the hands of the Senate clock at the close of every annual session, lengthening the official day so lawmakers could finish their work within the prescribed time.Obama on Wednesday insisted there is no more time to add now. And he beseeched and badgered lawmakers to complete a deal to cut long-term deficits and lift the nation's debt ceiling before Aug. 2 to avoid what his administration says would be a calamitous government default."There's no point in putting it off," he said. "We've got to get this done."

Obama or the divided Congress is making it easier. The White House has identified at least $1.3 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years and is proposing up to $400 billion in new tax revenue. Republicans want more spending cuts and no tax increases.

The problem with Congress is it's a big institution for them, and you have to get a majority of the votes," said Steve Elmendorf, who has observed Congress for years as a top House Democratic leadership aide and now as a lobbyist. "Leaders can make deals with the president, but then leaders have to sell it to the followers. And that usually takes time."

President Obama administration is warning that the debt ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2, the U.S. would face its first default in history, potentially throwing world financial markets into turmoil. Many congressional Republicans aren't convinced, and some administration officials worry that it could take a financial plunge before Congress acts.It happened before, when the Bush administration tried to persuade Congress to intervene at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The $700 billion plan to rescue banks was defeated initially in the House in late September 2008, freezing credit markets and sending stock markets into a dive. The measure passed in the ensuing days.

The pending debt ceiling vote would have to raise the current borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion by about $2.4 trillion to last until the end of 2012 for that  at his news conference, Obama took issue with criticism that he has not pushed for an agreement. He argued that he has spent an hour to an hour-and-a-half each with Republican senators, Democratic senators and House members from both parties.

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