The top Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate say they are close to a deal to prevent a default on the nation’s debt and end the government shutdown. Our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Geoff Bennett has more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In Washington, there’s nothing like a deadline to focus lawmakers.
“We’re doing the very best we can with all the frailties we have as people and legislators,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Senate leaders seem to be close to reaching a deal to reopen the government and extend the U.S. debt ceiling. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are reportedly discussing a plan to keep the government funded through January 15th and extend the national debt limit until mid-February.
Congressional leaders were scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House Monday, but it was delayed as negotiations continued. Instead, the President visited a Washington. D.C. food bank, where he again called on lawmakers to reach an agreement.
“The problem is that we've seen this brinksmanship as a strategy time and time again to try to extract extreme or partisan concessions,” Obama said.
Any proposal from the Democratic-led Senate has to be approved by the Republican-run House before the president can sign it. It’s not clear how the House will act, given the effort by some House conservatives to link funding measures to the dismantling of the president’s healthcare law.
"Those parties need to be committed to this responsible reality," said North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx.
But with national polls showing Americans angry with the GOP over the government shutdown, Democrats are using the opportunity to chastise Republicans.
“I think this was a strategic mistakes by the Republican Party overall. There are two responsibilities that Congress has. That is to pass a budget and to pay its bills. To do neither is reckless,” said New York Representative Joseph Crowley.
“Now they [House Republicans] are in search of some other rationale to justify all their shenanigans. It’s just a question of how long that will go on,” said Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett.
With just days left for lawmakers to work out a deal.