Durbin, Kyl voice optimism over deal

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) both voiced optimism for a potential deal to raise the debt ceiling currently being negotiated by lawmakers and the White House.

While the details of the final agreement are still being discussed, "I have a much more positive feeling than I did 24 hours ago," Durbin said on "Fox News Sunday."

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Earlier Sunday on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said both sides were close to a $3 trillion deficit-reduction package. The package is expected to include spending cuts of about $1 trillion and set up a select bicameral committee to recommend a second deficit-reduction package worth between $1.4 trillion and $1.8 trillion by Thanksgiving.

If Congress fails to approve the committee’s recommendations, cuts to Defense and Medicare would go into effect automatically, giving both parties incentive to reach a later agreement.

"I can now confidently say we're not going to have a default," McConnell said.

But Durbin expressed concerns that the proposal under discussion did not include revenue increases calling that decision “bad policy” and a “serious mistake”.

He also voiced support for the bipartisan committee’s responsibility for ensuring “longer deficit reduction” as well as the inclusion of triggers which would act as an “enforcement mechanism”.

Kyl said that Republicans would have “a real problem” with triggers ensuring significant, across-the-board defense cuts, but like Durbin backed the call for a joint committee to oversee and push “a significant amount of spending reductions” as well as comprehensive reforms on both the “entitlement side and discretionary side."

Kyl was hopeful the final terms would include a provision for a vote on a balanced-budget amendment. But while the issue was important to Republicans, Kyl conceded that a budget amendment vote would not be “essential” to any final agreement.

“Republican principles will be significantly advanced by this agreement,” Kyl said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) delayed a vote on his plan to raise the debt ceiling late Saturday to give President Obama and GOP leaders more time to strike an agreement.

Saturday evening, news reports claimed both sides had reached the outline of a tentative agreement, but Reid dismissed such claims, insisting that many details remained unresolved.

The Treasury Department has forecast that the U.S. will be unable pay its bills on Aug. 3 if a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling is not reached.