By Russell Berman - 06/15/11 06:44 PM EDT
Negotiators in the debt talks led by Vice President Biden met for more than two hours Wednesday, discussing proposals for structural spending reforms.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader, emerged from the meeting saying he was “very optimistic” the group could strike a deal to lift the debt ceiling, and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) pointed to July 1 as a date when the group hopes to wrap up its work.
“We’re getting there,” Clyburn said.
Van Hollen said the negotiators “had a useful discussion about different perspectives, and we’re going to continue to work on it.”
He said that while there was broad support for some form of a cap or trigger, differences remained.
“We did not get them resolved,” he said.
The Biden group plans to meet for a third consecutive day on Thursday as it tries to ready an agreement to present to party leadership, President Obama and rank-and-file lawmakers.
The Treasury Department has said Congress must raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2 to avoid a default by the U.S. government.
Including a tax cut in the deal could complicate efforts by Democrats to insist that revenue increases be part of the agreement. The No. 3 Senate Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) reiterated on Wednesday that revenue increases must be included.
Biden left the Capitol without speaking to reporters Wednesday.