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Conrad sees opportunity for 'five guys' group due to impasse in Biden talks

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Thursday that the current impasse at the Biden debt-limit talks may provide an opportunity for his bipartisan negotiating group.

Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman, said that House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district MORE’s (R-Va.) exit from the Biden talks may mean that the Gang of Six – currently the "Five Guys," since the departure of Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnDemocrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks Inspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 MORE (R-Okla.) – may be able to "play a constructive role."

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Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Republicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote MORE (D-Ill.), another gang member, said Wednesday that the he wants the group to “come out of the closet” and reveal what they have been talking about.

Another member, Republican Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoBarrett says she did not strike down ObamaCare in moot court case GOP Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for coronavirus 22 GOP attorneys general urge Congress to confirm Barrett as Supreme Court justice MORE (R-Idaho), appeared on Thursday to shoot down the idea of speeding up the talks.

“I always say that we should get a plan first,” he told reporters. “Once we get a deal — and we are still in the process of working through the dynamics of that — then we can determine a rollout. I think we should rollout as soon as we get something.”

He said he did not necessarily feel that the group was under more pressure to release something now.

“The pressure is not from these kind of politics, it is from the crisis that our nation faces,” he said. “I don’t know that it has increased.”

Conrad said that the remaining members of the gang were scheduled to gather on the Senate floor Thursday, but that meeting had to be put off for scheduling reasons.

Sens. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissLobbying world GOP lobbyist tapped for White House legislative affairs The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks MORE (R-Ga.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference Intel officials say Iran, Russia seeking to influence election Senate Intel leaders warn of election systems threats MORE (D-Va.) are also in the group. They have been working for seven months on a deal that would achieve $4.7 trillion or so in deficit reduction over nine years, through a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reform and revenue increases through simplification of the tax code.