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PACE OF THE BUDGET SUMMIT PICKING UP

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This is the week President Bush and Congress pick up the pace of their budget summit, under pressure to forge a deficit-reduction agreement before an already difficult task faces additional political complications.

The negotiations, which for the most part have been held on Capitol Hill, move to the White House, where Bush will meet with congressional leaders for 90 minutes Tuesday and an hour each of the following three days in a search for $50 billion or more in spending cuts and revenue increases next year.When Bush agreed May 6 to open negotiations on a bipartisan deficit-reduction plan, the idea was that his personal involvement would be limited, called upon only when needed to inject momentum into the process.

With Congress as little as two weeks away from a summer recess that could postpone further work until after Labor Day, that time for intervention has arrived.

The first sign came last Wednesday, when Bush invited the top five members of the congressional leadership to the White House for a review of the limited progress to date.

The intent was to give what White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater characterized as "a little shove" to the talks.

This week will see further acceleration. Senate Republican leader Robert Dole of Kansas said Sunday that Bush will become "much more active" in "pushing Congress," despite complaints from some Democrats that it is the administration that has been slow to come forward with specific proposals.