Obama says it appears some progress in Senate toward averting default

Reuters

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama saidon Monday it appears there has been progress in Senate fiscalimpasse negotiations but that there is a good chance the UnitedStates will default on its debts if Republicans are unwilling toset aside some partisan concerns.

Obama emerged from the White House to visit Martha's Table,an organization that makes meals for low-income families wheresome furloughed government workers have been volunteering.

Obama, who is to meet congressional leaders at the WhiteHouse at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), said he would be able todetermine at that meeting whether the progress is real towardending a government shutdown and avoiding a debt default aheadof a Thursday deadline.

"My hope is that a spirit of cooperation will move usforward in the next few hours," Obama said.

Obama warned "we stand a good chance of defaulting" unlessreal progress is made this week in the Senate and House ofRepresentatives and if Republicans are not willing to set asidesome aside some of their partisan concerns.

A debt default would send interest rates shooting up and thedamage to the economy would be greatly magnified "if we don'tmake sure that the government's paying its bills and that has tobe decided this week," he said.

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