ABC News' Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) reports:
As the stalemate continues, today the president, vice president and congressional leaders will meet for the fourth time in as many days to try and reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Today’s meeting comes one day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, proposed an unexpected “last choice option” that would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts.
“Senator McConnell’s proposal today reaffirmed what leaders of both parties have stated clearly, that defaulting on America’s past due bills is not an option,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “The president continues to believe that our focus must remain on seizing this unique opportunity to come to agreement on significant, balanced deficit reduction.”
With the clock ticking, the pressure is on for negotiators to reach a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2, otherwise “we can’t guarantee, if there were a default, any specific bill will be paid,” Carney told reporters Tuesday.
Before the 4 p.m. (EDT) deficit-reduction meeting at the White House, the president and vice president will have their private weekly luncheon, where the debt negotiations will surely be a topic of discussion.
Also today, the president will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss, among other things, Libya and Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.
Later, Obama will meet with members of his Intelligence Advisory Board.