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Obama May Be Forced to Sign Short-Term Debt Deal, Coburn Says

Sen. Tom Coburn, one of the GOP members of the bipartisan “gang of six,” said Sunday that President Barack Obama would have no choice but to sign a short-term debt limit increase if it crosses his desk.

The Oklahoma Republican appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” after White House Chief of Staff William Daley, who said the president would veto any plan if it lifts the debt ceiling on a short-term basis and not through the 2012 elections.

“That’s a ridiculous position,” Coburn responded, “because that’s what he’s going to get presented with.”

“I understand why they’re saying they won’t sign a short-term [deal], but I don’t think they have a choice,” he added.

Congressional leaders and the White House are negotiating a deficit reduction package to accompany a debt limit increase before the Aug. 2 default deadline, and the Senate gang of six put forward a plan last week to cut about $4 trillion from the deficit over 10 years.

Coburn said Sunday that he is confident a deal will be struck by the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling.

Revenues have been a major sticking point in the negotiations. Coburn said a tax increase would not be ideal, but he could back a plan that removes tax credits such as those for ethanol or wind energy.

“I would vote for a compromise,” he said, “provided you get significant changes to the real problem that is facing us, which is the waste and the duplication and the fraud in government programs, and reforms to entitlements.”

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