MSNBC.COM - As efforts to avoid an unprecedented U.S. default entered crunch time Friday, President Obama faced growing tensions with senior congressional Democrats, who are angry at White House concessions to Republicans and at being left out of the talks.
With the clock ticking toward an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, Obama and the senior Republican in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, worked toward a plan that could include up to $3 trillion in spending cuts but might leave tax reform for later, congressional aides said.
Friday is essentially the start of crunch time. The White House initially set a July 22 target for a deal that would leave enough time to get it through the legislative process. But it has backed off that timeframe in recent days with both sides still far apart on the issues.
If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling in time, the United States would default on its obligations, possibly plunging the country back into recession and sparking a crisis in financial markets worldwide.
The main obstacle remained the issue of tax increases that Obama's Democrats demand and Republicans vehemently oppose.
There were conflicting accounts of how and when higher revenue might kick in, and the White House vowed there would be no deal without this.
Negotiations have seesawed between competing and even conflicting options, and leaders on both sides face resistance within their own ranks to some ideas now gaining traction.
But alarm was expressed most loudly Thursday by Democrats, who have complained about what they see as Obama's willingness to make concessions on social spending cuts. Democrats will also be unhappy if the president agrees to no immediate tax increases. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE