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Debt crisis: Dems, GOP at odds as debt default risk looms

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The measure also would establish a committee of lawmakers to recommend additional budget savings of $1.8 trillion, which would trigger an additional $1.6 trillion increase in the debt limit.

The White House, wanting to avoid making the debt a hostage of the next presidential election, objects to the requirement for a second vote before the 2012 elections.

Neither of the rival plans offered by Boehner in the House and Reid in the Senate seemed to have the necessary votes in Congress amid a bitter stalemate that could have far-reaching repercussions for the fragile U.S. economy as well as global markets. Stocks fell Tuesday as U.S. markets registered their nervousness over the Washington gridlock between Obama and Republicans.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the administration remains in contact with congressional leaders despite the collapse of talks last Friday and inconclusive discussions this past weekend.

"We're working on Plan B. ... There has to be a product that can pass the House and the Senate and be signed into law," said Carney, who argued that the Boehner plan had no chance of passing in the Senate.

Positions seemed only to harden after Obama and Boehner engaged in an extraordinary joust on TV on Monday. In televised primetime addresses, they squabbled over fiscal issues that have consumed Washington since a large block of first-term members of the U.S. House of Representatives, elected last year under the mantle of the small-government, low-tax tea party, returned the lower chamber to Republican control.

Amid uncertainty in the House about the spending bill's prospects, Boehner told reporters, "This was negotiated in a bipartisan manner between both Houses of the Congress. I do think that we are going to have some work to do to get it passed but I think we can do it."

Conservative Republicans in the House cast doubt about whether there is sufficient backing for the speaker's plan.

Flanked by conservative colleagues, Rep. Jim Jordan told reporters he could not back the Boehner proposal and said it doesn't have the votes to pass in the Republican-controlled House.

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