UPDATE 1-Obama says it appears some progress in Senate toward averting default

Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:17pm EDT

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON Oct 14 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday it appears there has been progress in Senate fiscal impasse negotiations but that there is a good chance the United States will default on its debts if Republicans are unwilling to set aside some partisan concerns.

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

Obama, who is to meet congressional leaders at the White House at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), said he would be able to determine at that meeting whether the progress is real toward ending a government shutdown and avoiding a debt default ahead of a Thursday deadline.

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

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

A debt default would send interest rates shooting up and the damage to the economy would be greatly magnified "if we don't make sure that the government's paying its bills and that has to be decided this week," he said.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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