Debt talks at crossroads this week, Kyl says

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:57pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Negotiators working on a deal to get the national debt under control will have to "reassess the situation" if they do not make substantial progress this week, one of the participants said on Monday.

Republican Senator Jon Kyl said the group will have to decide whether Congress will have enough time to approve a long-term increase in the country's borrowing authority by August 2, when the Treasury Department has said it will run out of money to pay the country's bills.

"I'd say if we haven't made enough progress by the end of this week we're really going to have to reassess the situation," Kyl told reporters.

Kyl's comments came one day after the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said Congress may have to opt for a short-term fix to ensure that Congress can raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit and avoid a default, which could push the country back into recession and upend financial markets.

Republicans have said that any increase must be paired with a deficit-reduction package of equal size.

Lawmakers from both parties hope the debt talks, led by Vice President Joe Biden, will yield at least $2 trillion in savings, enough to ensure Congress does not have to revisit the topic before the November 2012 elections.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, writing by Andy Sullivan; editing by Will Dunham)

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