DEBT SHOWDOWN

Debt crisis: House nears vote on GOP debt bill; Democrats oppose

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Investors weren't impressed with either the economy or the efforts in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average appeared headed for a sixth straight day of losses, and bond yields fell as investors sought safer investments in the event of a default.

(Photo: Associated Press)

At the White House, Obama cited the potential toll on the economy as he urged lawmakers to find a way out of gridlock.

He said that for all the partisanship, the two sides were not that far apart. Both agree on initial spending cuts to take effect in exchange for an increase in the debt limit, he said, as well as on a way to consider additional reductions in government benefit programs in the coming months.

"And if we need to put in place some kind of enforcement mechanism to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, I'll support that, too, if it's done in a smart and balanced way," he said.

That went to the crux of the conflict - his insistence that Congress raise the government's borrowing authority by enough to avoid a repeat of the current crisis during the heat of the 2012 election campaigns.

Republicans have resisted, accusing him of injecting purely political considerations into the debt limit negotiations. But Boehner's failure to line up the votes for his legislation Thursday night seemed to embolden Democrats.

Obama asked his 9.4 million followers on Twitter to send tweets to Republican lawmakers.

"The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet," Obama wrote in a tweet, signed "-BO."

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky saw it all differently. "Democrats are out bragging about how they're going to prolong this crisis instead of doing the hard work of trying to solve it," he said. "And that includes the president," whom he accused of blowing up a bipartisan deal that had been negotiated last weekend.

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