Reid, McConnell express optimism debt, shutdown deal in reach


Senate leaders expressed confidence Monday they would soon reach a deal to open the government and avoid a national default on Thursday.

“I’m very optimistic that we will reach an agreement that’s reasonable in nature this week to reopen the government, pay the nation’s bills and begin long-term negotiations to put our country on sound fiscal footing,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor.

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He thanked Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) “for his diligent efforts to come to an agreement."

McConnell affirmed Reid’s optimism.

“Let me just echo the remarks of my good friend,” he said. “We have had an opportunity over the last couple of days to have some very constructive exchanges of views about how to move forward,” he said.

“I share his optimism that we’re going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides,” he said.

Reid told reporters earlier in the day he would like to have a deal by the time Senate leaders travel to the White House Monday afternoon.

Reid, McConnell, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) were scheduled to meet with President Obama at 3 p.m., thought the meting was then postponed to give Senate leaders more time to craft a deal. A new meeting time was not announced.

"The President’s 3:00 pm meeting with the bipartisan leadership has been postponed to allow leaders in the Senate time to continue making important progress towards a solution that raises the debt limit and reopens the government," the White House said.

Before the postponent, Reid was asked if he thought Senate leaders would reach a deal by the meeting. “[I] sure hope so,” he responded. 

“We’re working on everything,” Reid said when asked about the scope of the negotiations. “We continue to work on it. It’s not done yet.”

A Senate GOP aide said Reid and McConnell are “engaged in good faith negotiations, and those talks will continue.”

Reid met with McConnell in the GOP leader’s office for about 30 minutes before the Senate came into session. As he left, he insisted his relationship with the minority leader is better than has been widely reported.

“That’s greatly exaggerated. Sen. McConnell and I have worked together for more than 30 years, very closely since we’ve been whips. So, no problem,” he said.

Still, Reid was not sure if Republicans would accept the Democrats’ latest offer to open the government and raise the debt ceiling.

“Shouldn’t take anything for granted,” he said.

Reid hinted Democrats have not made any significant concessions.

When asked, what Democrats have offered, he said, “We didn’t offer any — we talked yesterday as everyone knows.”

— This story was posted at 12:45 p.m. and updated at 2:45 p.m.