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Progress Still 'Elusive' On Deficit-Reduction Deal

Though the negotiations that many care most about are over ending the NFL lockout, we'll look first at where things stand in the deficit-reduction talks — one day before what the White House had said is the deadline for reaching a deal if everything is going to be written, passed and signed by Aug. 2, when the federal government reaches its "debt ceiling."

As our friend Frank James reported on It's All Politics, the White House has signaled that President Obama now would OK a temporary extension of the debt ceiling if lawmakers reach an agreement on significant deficit-reduction in coming years, but just need a little more time to iron out the details.

But The Associated Press writes that

"Progress remains elusive as official Washington grapples day after day for a way out of a debt dilemma that has the government sliding toward a first-ever default on its financial obligations.

"President Barack Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner, (R-OH), at the White House for 90 minutes on Wednesday, but neither side would comment afterward."

And, AP adds:

"Momentum on a separate bipartisan budget plan by the Senate's 'Gang of Six' seemed to ebb Wednesday as critics warned the measure contains larger tax increases than advertised and it became plain that the measure comes too late and is too controversial to advance quickly — particularly as a part of a debt limit package that already would be teetering on a knife's edge."

Indeed, this morning that Gang of Six plan — which the president embraced on Tuesday — is generating headlines such as these:

-- "Business Roundtable Praises Gang Of Six Plan, AFL-CIO Rips It." ( The Hill's On the Money blog.)

-- "The Gang Of Six Disaster: Worst Plan So Far." (The conservative National Review's The Corner blog.)

There is, though, this from Politico: "Tea Party Senators Open To Gang Plan."

However, some who have been following the talks with intense interest are preparing for a "no-deal" outcome:

-- "Wall St. Makes Fallback Plans For Debt Crisis." ( The New York Times.)

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.