From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/17/us-budget-ceiling-standoff-default
As deadline nears, Republican party is still blocking President Obama's compromise package, including $1tn from higher taxes
Ed Pilkington in New York
A week of high brinkmanship on Capitol Hill opened today with neither side in the impasse over the US debt ceiling prepared to budge and with the US just days away from a potentially catastrophic default.
The White House called a temporary cessation of hostilities, with meetings that have been going on almost solidly for more than a week suspended over the weekend to allow tempers to cool. But despite the hiatus, there was no sign from either the Republicans or Democrats that they were preparing to compromise.
In interviews on the Sunday political shows, the White House budget director, Jack Lew, made clear that tax rises for the rich would have to be on the table – a demand that the Tea party-steeled Republicans have doggedly refused to contemplate. "Can we get a balanced package together? It's not fair to ask senior citizens to pay a price, to ask families paying for the college education of their children to pay a price, but leave the most privileged out of the equation," he told ABC's This Week.
Lew said he was confident a deal would be done but criticised right-wing Republicans, who are taking the crisis to the brink. "The debt will be extended. Notwithstanding the voices of a few who are willing to play with Armageddon, responsible leaders in Washington are not."
Those "voices of a few" include that of the presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who confirmed last week that she would vote against raising the debt ceiling, whatever the outcome of the talks.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/17/us-budget-ceiling-standoff-default