WASHINGTON (AP) — Partisan to the core, Congress groped uncertainly Friday for a way to avoid a government default threatened for early next week. "We are almost out of time," warned President Barack Obama as U.S. financial markets trembled.

At one end of the Capitol, Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans pushed toward a vote on veto-threatened legislation rewritten overnight to win the support of conservative holdouts. The conservatives wanted a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, and it was added to Boehner's bill.

At the same time, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid worked on an alternative bill to cut spending by $2.2 trillion and raise the debt limit by $2.7 trillion. That would be enough to meet Obama's terms that it tide the Treasury over until 2013.

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