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White House says significant debt deal possible

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that a significant federal deficit-reduction deal was possible this year if negotiators from both parties are willing to compromise.

The comment came after President Barack Obama met with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid at the White House, and before his scheduled meeting with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell at 5 p.m.

"We believe that it is still very much possible, that if everyone is willing to abandon the 'my way or the highway' approach, to accept that compromise on behalf of the American people requires tough choices, we can get significant deficit reduction done this year," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Time is running out ahead of an August 2 deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit. But administration officials said the most important thing was to keep both sides talking, which was why negotiations had escalated to the president.

Talks led by Vice President Joe Biden collapsed last week when Republicans walked away over Democrats' demands to include higher taxes to raise revenue alongside spending cuts.

"We will be continuing to push this process forward," Carney said.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Laura MacInnis; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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