Durbin: Senate talks ‘a breakthrough’

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Sunday that talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were “a breakthrough” in the effort in Congress to prevent a default on the U.S. debt.

Reid and McConnell initiated negotiations over the weekend about a possible hike to the federal debt ceiling ahead of a Thursday deadline after talks between the Obama administration and House Republicans stalled.

Durbin, who is the second-highest-ranking Senate Democrat, said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press”  that he was encouraged by the party leaders’ talks.

“It’s a breakthrough,” Durbin said. “Hard to imagine, but it’s a breakthrough. We’ve reached a point where the House Republicans and their leadership have stepped to the side. They’re not a part of this. They can’t agree among themselves.”

Durbin said he was optimistic that lawmakers would reach a deal to avert a first-ever default on the U.S. debt before Thursday’s deadline.

“I’m a hopeful person, and I hope sensible people prevail,” he said.