From the Guardian 4:22AM BST 15 Jul 2011
President Barack Obama has told top US lawmakers he wants agreement on the way forward towards a debt deal in 24-36 hours, according to aides.
Five consecutive days of cross-party negotiations at the White House have failed to make a breakthrough.
But Mr Obama believes a $2 trillion debt deal is possible if all sides bend a little, a Democratic official familiar with the White House talks said.
"The president made clear that a big deal remains his strong preference,'' the official said. The official said a deal of approximately $2 trillion would be possible if all sides were "willing to give a little.''
Obama will hold a news conference at 11am ET (4pm BST) on Friday and may call back lawmakers for weekend talks if he does not hear from them within 24 to 36 hours about a "plan of action'' to get to a debt ceiling deal, the official said.
The US must raise its $14.3tn (£8.9tn) debt ceiling to borrow beyond 2 August.
Standard & Poor's became the second of the major credit rating agencies to place US debt under review on Thursday, citing an increasing risk of a payment default.