America's political gridlock may soon be coming to an end, as the Senate's top-ranking Republican said Sunday that Washington lawmakers are "very, very close" to an agreement to raise the nation's debt limit.
Congress has been working overtime, around the clock, to meet an approaching Aug. 2 deadline to ward off a first-ever government default.
Sen. Mitch 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.
"I have a much more positive feeling than I did 24 hours ago," Durbin told Fox News Sunday.
Lawmakers came under intense public pressure Friday as no deal was in sight and U.S. and global markets dropped in response to America's financial uncertainty. China and other countries, as well as U.S. banks and other companies, have called upon lawmakers to reach agreement so the U.S. doesn't default, possibly sending the nation back into another recession.
David Plouffe, senior advisor to Obama, said Sunday morning that Republican and Democratic leaders in discussions "still have some work to do."
"We're talking about a variety of options here," Plouffe said.
He added that if negotiators do not reach an agreement by Tuesday, the day of the deadline to raise the debt ceiling, the White House would consider raising the debt ceiling for a day or two to work out final plan details.
The Senate is set to vote Sunday afternoon on the developing plan, but the vote could be pushed back while final details are worked out.