Washington: With Republicans and Democrats sharply divided over measures to avert an American debt default, President Barack Obama on Saturday appealed to both parties to immediately find a "common ground" in the US Senate to reach a compromise on raising the debt ceiling.
Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives voted 218-210 to pass a Republican bill to avert a disastrous US debt default, but the bill was certain to be rejected by a Democrat-dominated Senate, putting the US on the path of what could be its first default on international obligations.
A nervous administration is scrambling to find ways to resolve the standoff ahead of the August 2 deadline for raising the borrowing limit, after which the US will begin running short of cash to pay its bills.
"The President urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House a plan the President can sign by Tuesday," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney said after the Republican-led vote in the House.
In the Senate, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Democrats were pushing their own plan to avert a default.
Carney said by demanding that the Constitution be amended or US defaults, the Republican bill would have the nation face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months.
"This bill has been declared dead on arrival in the Senate. Now that yet another political exercise is behind us, with time dwindling, leaders need to start working together immediately to reach a compromise that avoids default and lays the basis for balanced deficit reduction," he said.
First Published: Saturday, July 30, 2011, 18:30