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Freshmen House member, raise their hands during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 28, 2011, as they respond to a reporter's question as to how many previously opposed the bill on raising the debt ceiling proposed by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and have now switched to support it. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hours before a crucial vote, Republican leaders pleaded with their fractious rank and file Thursday to support a House plan to stave off an unprecedented government default. The vote would bring President Barack Obama and congressional leaders a step closer to endgame efforts before Tuesday’s deadline.

Republicans are seeking deep spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit to allow the government to keep paying its bills. The White House has threatened to veto the GOP bill if it makes it through the Democratic-controlled Senate. Still, getting the newly modified House plan passed on Thursday was seen as an important step toward finding a compromise — possibly in the Senate.

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