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Obama to tee off in ‘golf summit’

President Barack Obama golfing at Andrews Air Force Base in MarylandMr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Boehner about reducing the federal budget during the game

US President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner are set to go head-to-head on the golf course amid tensions over the federal budget and the US role in Libya.

The high-stakes round will take place as the US Open nears a climax nearby.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that though Saturday’s game would be an opportunity for the men to socialise, talk on the budget was expected.

Republicans want spending cuts with the deficit poised to hit $1.4tr (£865bn).

The pair tee off amid a dispute between the White House and Congress over the legality of the US role in the Nato-led mission in Libya.

This week, Mr Boehner told the White House the ongoing US support for Nato’s mission in Libya violates a US war powers law limiting military action without congressional approval to 60 days.

The White House on Thursday responded with a letter to Congress insisting Mr Obama did not need congressional approval, because the military campaign is limited in scope.

And late on Friday, the New York Times reported Mr Obama had overruled the advice of two senior administration lawyers in taking that position. But the report noted Mr Obama is free to disregard the advice of the White House office of legal counsel.

President handicapped

In Washington at least the anticipation for Mr Obama and Mr Boehner’s outing is expected to overshadow the third round of the US Open, which is being held at the Congressional Country Club in the suburbs of the city.

Vice-President Joe Biden and Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich will also join the president on the course – with the exact location not yet reveal to the public.

If the form guide is to be believed Mr Biden should be favourite to win the round – he is ranked 29 in the Golf Digest list of Washington’s top 150 golfers.

Mr Boehner is ranked 43, while the president – better known for his love of the basketball court than the golf course – is rated number 108.

The magazine also estimates Mr Obama’s handicap at 17, Mr Biden’s at 6.3 and Mr Boehner’s at 7.9.

Deal hopes downplayed

Mr Carney said on Thursday that though raising the $14.29tn (£8.7 trillion) debt ceiling was likely to be a subtext to the game, it was unlikely the men would come to any resolutions during the game.

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I think I can say with great confidence that they will not wrap up the 18th hole and come out and say that we have a deal”

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Jay Carney
White House spokesman

“I think I can say with great confidence that they will not wrap up the 18th hole and come out and say that we have a deal,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Vice-President Biden – who has been leading attempts to craft a deal with Republicans – told reporters that Democrats and Republicans had tentatively agreed on several federal spending cuts.

They were preparing for difficult trade-offs that could lead to trillions of dollars in savings, Mr Biden said.

Biden and top Democrats and Republicans both hope to reduce the federal budget by $4tn over the next 10 years to allow lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling to prevent a default.

The US treasury department has warned that the US risks default if Congress does not authorise more borrowing by August.

But Republicans have refused to allow tax increases, while Democrats have vowed to protect costly social programmes.

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