Debt ceiling talks at frustrating standstill

(AP) Budget talks between President Barack Obama and his GOP rivals remain at a frustrating standstill as lawmakers return to the White House for another negotiating session Wednesday.

The impasse has led a top Republican to launch a long-shot proposal to give Obama sweeping new powers to muscle through an increase in the government's debt limit without the approval of a bitterly divided Congress.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell offered a backup plan that would, in effect, guarantee Obama requests for new government borrowing authority unless Congress musters veto-proof majorities to deny him.

McConnell's plan immediately ran into stiff opposition among Tea Party conservatives and seemed unlikely to pass the House, but neither the White House nor House Speaker John Boehner dismissed it out of hand.

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