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Schumer ‘cautiously hopeful, optimistic'

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that he was “cautiously hopeful, optimistic” that a deal can be reached to reopen the federal government and extend the debt ceiling.

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“I’m cautiously hopeful, optimistic that we can come to an agreement and open up the government and avoid default based on the bipartisan discussions that are going on,” Schumer said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The New York Democrat said a rejected six-point effort put forward by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) “will help bring things about,” Schumer added.

“There’s a will. We now have to find a way,” he said. "Finding that way is hard, but we’re not out of the ballpark.”

Schumer described the sequester as “one of the sticking points,” noting there has been bipartisan objection to the automatic budget cuts.

“The dispute has been how to undo the sequester,” Schumer said, adding that Democrats want a mix of entitlement reform and revenue increases.

Schumer said a short-term agreement to keep government open until sequester hits on January 15, 2014, would let lawmakers “have a whole bunch of discussions.”

“I’m optimistic that could work.”

Schumer also said that a Senate agreement in the next few days “may help crack the logjam in the House.”

“Speaker Boehner can’t lead, but if the Senate leads, I believe he could follow our lead,” Schumer said, adding that he thinks “mainstream Republicans are getting fed up with the Tea Party and (Sen.) Ted Cruz (R-Texas).”

“When you’re party is doing as poorly as it has – mainly because they’ve let Ted Cruz and the Tea Party-type thinking lead them around, you break from that.”