Senators say they’re closing in on a deal on government shutdown
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, ended a day of constant talks with optimistic proclamations, as details leaked out of the pact they were negotiating.
McConnell, who has been a fierce critic of Reid all year, had a smile on his face.
The plan under discussion would promptly end a partial government shutdown about to enter its third week.
It also would raise the debt ceiling by enough to cover the nation’s borrowing needs at least through mid-February 2014, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Democrats look to have fended off any major changes to President Barack Obama’s signature health law, something that could fuel resistance — particularly by conservative House Republicans who had insisted on delaying Obamacare as a condition of continued government funding.
In an early sign of Republican opposition, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas told reporters: “No deal is better than a bad deal,” as he downplayed the impact of a credit default if the U.S. limit on borrowing is not quickly raised.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday found that 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans have handled the standoff, compared with a 53 percent disapproval rating for Obama.
Though Treasury likely will have enough cash on hand to meet its obligations for a week or so, it might be forced to pay a higher interest rate on debt it is due to issue on Thursday. Because of the uncertainty over U.S. finances, banks and money market funds are already shunning some government securities.
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