Clinton says 'confident' of deal on US debt crisis

HONG KONG, July 25, 2011 (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that she was "confident" lawmakers will reach a deal to avert a US debt default amid fears of a fiscal catastrophe.

The top US diplomat, who made the remarks in a prepared speech, was speaking to business leaders in Hong Kong as the White House and top lawmakers scramble to reach a deal to avoid a disastrous default on the country's debt.

"The political wrangling in Washington is intense right now. But these debates have been a constant in our political life since before the founding of our republic," she said according to excerpts of the speech released in advance.

"I am confident that Congress will secure a deal on the debt ceiling and work with President Obama to take steps to improve our long-term fiscal outlook," she added.

Democrats and Republicans have been sparring over a measure to raise the $14.3 trillion US debt ceiling, allowing Washington to pay its bills past an August 2 deadline, while cutting $2.7 trillion in spending over 10 years.

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