City officials "have the rosary beads going" as they fret over whether Congress will give them the authority to issue deficit reduction bonds before the district needs cash in August, said Ellen M. O'Connor, the city's deputy mayor for finance.

Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon proposed the $332 million bond issue as a means of eliminating both the city's accumulated deficit and its need to make costly short-term borrowings. But the bonds issue must be approved by Congress because the city's charter currently forbids their use.

"We're in a fury of communication" with members of Congress, Ms. O'Connor said, adding that the district will need cash no later than Aug. 3. If approval for the bonds is not given by then, she said officials will look at the city's cash needs and decide how to raise the money.

But for now, "the momentum appears to be for the bonds," she said. "It's a very alive option. So we're putting all our eggs in that basket now."

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