McConnell expresses optimism about Biden debt talks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed optimism that a group of negotiators brought together by Vice President Joe Biden will be able to reach a compromise on a deficit-reduction plan.

"Those talks are beginning Thursday and will, in my view, lead to some kind of conclusion because, as you know, the clock is ticking," McConnell said.

McConnell said the urgent need to raise the debt ceiling means that the Biden talks hold greater promise than other debt talks such as the Gang of Six negotiations.

"Let me just say that what is — the vehicle upon which something is likely to be achieved to reduce government spending is the debt ceiling," McConnell said.

Separately, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said attaching spending caps or debt triggers to a debt ceiling bill would not be enough for him. He said that he wants to see an actual deficit-reduction package that makes the hard choices agreed to before the debt ceiling is raised.
"I tend to think pressure is good," Conrad said.

The Biden group is made up of Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).