WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reported progress today toward a deal to avoid a threatened default and end a two-week partial government shutdown as President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House to press for an end to the impasse.
“We’re getting closer,” Reid told reporters after he met privately with the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell.
While Reid, D-Nev., said there was not yet an accord, he said he hoped to have a proposal to outline when the two men and House leaders meet with Obama at mid-afternoon. Emerging from Reid’s office, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said “he told us the negotiations were productive and positive.”
Under discussion is an increase in the debt limit well into next year, a short-term measure that would re-open the government and the start of budget negotiations.
Visiting a Washington charity, Obama mentioned the possible progress in the Senate and said his mid-afternoon meeting will determine whether it’s real.
“There has been some progress on the Senate side, with Republicans recognizing it’s not tenable, it’s not smart, it’s not good for the American people to let America default,” he said while visiting a Washington charity that has retained furloughed government workers as volunteers.
Otherwise, he warned, the threat of default was legitimate.
“If we don’t start making some real progress both in the House and the Senate, and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside some of their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting,” he said.