Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says negotiators are "very, very close" to a deal to raise the debt ceiling, beating an Aug. 2 deadline, but some Democrats are talking in a more cautious tone. The deal is not yet done, they say.
As McConnell announced in two interviews over the weekend that a deal is close, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN there is a sense of relief in Washington that progress is being made but that "there is no final agreement" yet on the table.
Schumer later told CBS in an interview Sunday that one of the final sticking points between Republican and Democratic leaders is the creation of a "trigger" mechanism that would strike at priorities of both parties of the bipartisan committee does not come up with a plan for further deficit reduction.
Trigger proposals being discussed include automatically reducing spending on entitlement programs including Medicare along with closing tax loopholes or reducing defense and non-defense programs by an equal amount.
"It should be equally tough on Democrats and Republicans," Schumer said.
But even though final details remain in discussion, McConnell talked Sunday as if a deal would get done before the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
A Congress has been working overtime, around the clock, to meet an approaching Aug. 2 deadline to ward off a first-ever government default, and the Sentate prepared Sunday to convene in a rare session to address the issue.
McConnell (R-Ky.) said progress was made late Saturday in discussions between the White House and congressional leaders on a debt-ceiling plan that could find enough support from both Democrats and Republicans to get an agreed upon plan to President Barack Obama by the Aug. 2 deadline.
On CNN's "State of the Union" McConnell told about a $3 trillion plan that includes cuts in federal discretionary spending, a vote on a balanced budget amendment, and caps on future spending.
The plan would also form a joint committee to consider additional budget cuts and entitlement reforms that Congress could vote on in the fall, in addressing America's $14 trillion budget deficit.
If approved, the plan would raise the debt ceiling, now at its limit, until after the 2012 presidential election. But even though progress has been made over the weekend, it's not done yet.
"This deal has not been finalized but I think we're very, very close to something I could comfortably recommend to my members, and I believe the Democratic leadership will be doing the same," said McConnell, on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, expressed similar optimism about getting a deal done.