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Deficit meeting yields little progress

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WASHINGTON -- The rare White House meeting between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders Sunday ended with many plans but little progress on a debt and deficit reduction deal, and officials said the group plans to meet at the White House every day until a deal is struck.

The eight lawmakers made clear that they're not giving up on getting an agreement before an Aug. 2 deadline.

Obama plans a news conference today.

During the session yesterday, Obama pressed for the $4-trillion deal that congressional Republicans have rejected. He said a more modest approach would be equally hard to negotiate. Republicans insist that any deal include no tax hikes. Democrats oppose Obama's plans to cut government aid to seniors and poor Americans.

House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, told the deficit-reduction negotiators that budget cuts must exceed the amount by which the debt ceiling is raised and said any deal must exclude tax hikes.

An agreement that builds on the work of a group led by Vice President Joe Biden shows the most promise, an aide to Boehner said. "The speaker told the group that he believes a package based on the work of the Biden group is the most viable option at this time for moving forward," the aide said.

Boehner told yesterday's session that Republicans consider as "fundamental principles" that spending cuts should exceed the amount they will agree to raise the debt ceiling, and that any deal will restrain future spending and include "no tax hikes."

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid stressed the need for a deficit-reduction deal that is balanced between spending cuts and revenue, a spokesman said.

"Senator Reid believes the stakes are too high for Republicans to keep taking the easy way out, and he is committed to meeting every day until we forge a deal, however long that takes," spokesman Adam Jentleson said.

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