Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Senate Negotiators Scramble to Finalize Debt Deal After Reid Bill Tanks

Senate leaders scrambled to finalize an emerging compromise on the debt ceiling Sunday, with pressure building to produce a bill that can somehow sail through both chambers in the next two days.

Congress is running out of time for do-overs, with lawmakers facing an Aug. 2 deadline to either raise the debt cap or face the possibility of default.

The Senate, after voting against House Republicans' proposal Friday night, effectively killed Democratic Leader Harry Reid's counterproposal Sunday afternoon. Sixty votes were required to advance the proposal, and it fell far short in a 50-49 roll call. While the test vote was expected to fail, the outcome stressed how important it is for the latest round of talks to produce a viable alternative.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said talks are proceeding at a furious pace, with Vice President Biden deeply involved.

Reid said he was "cautiously optimistic," ahead of a meeting with House and Senate Democratic leaders. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said lawmakers are "really, really close to an agreement." (more)