Congress seeks debt result, Obama goes to public

By JIM KUHNHENN | July 16, 2011 | 3:29 AM EDT

President Barack Obama answers questions on the ongoing budget negotiations during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is working on dual tracks and racing against the clock to raise the nation's debt ceiling while President Barack Obama appeals directly to the public in hopes of influencing a deficit-reduction deal that failed to materialize during talks he led at the White House.

As a critical Aug. 2 deadline approaches, House Republicans are preparing to hold a vote next week to allow an increase in the debt ceiling through 2012 as long as Congress approves a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, a highly unlikely outcome.

In the Senate, the Republican and Democratic leaders are working on a bipartisan plan to allow Obama to raise the debt limit without a prior vote by lawmakers. The talks focused on how to address long-term deficit reduction in the proposal to satisfy House Republicans.