Tentative Debt Deal Looms in Senate, GOP Officially Holds-Off for Now

 @ibtimes on July 31 2011 8:33 PM
Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R), walks with Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) (L) and John Barrasso (R-WY) (C) to the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington July 31, 2011. U.S. lawmakers were close to a last-gasp $3 trillion deal on Sunday to raise the borrowing limit and assure financial markets that the United States will avoid a potentially catastrophic default. / REUTERS

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has "signed-off" on a debt-raising deal that could be voted on as early as tonight, although the Senate's Republican leadership indicates a deal has not been reached yet as the U.S. attempts to avoid the first-ever default on debt by the U.S. government.

Reid's support for a bill that is expected to cut more than $2 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years needs his fellow Democrats' approval, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile ,top Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell has not "signed off on anything," according to a report by ABC News.

Reid, of Nevada, who is in high level talks with Republicans Senate Leaders and the White House will confer with fellow Democrats prior to giving the go-ahead for deal.

"Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval," a spokesman for the senator said Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile in the House, House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a conference call with lawmakers at 8:30 p.m., according to Politico.

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA has schedule a separate meeting with her caucus, according to the report.

On Sunday afternoon, Reid said that he hopes a vote can happen Sunday evening ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline when the U.S. Treasury says the U.S. will begin to default on some of its obligations.

McConnell told CNN's "State of the Union" that a deal was "very close."

Top level negotiations were continuing on Sunday after an early afternoon attempt by Reid to see if one of his proposals would have enough votes to clear the Senate. It fell short of the 60 "ayes" needed to overcome a Republican Party filibuster. It could only manage a 50-49 vote in favor.

The deal currently being negotiated by McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden included a rise in the federal debt limit in two stages, for a total of $2.2 trillion. The increase would be large enough not to need another raise beyond the 2012 general election.

On Friday, the Senate blocked a bill passed by the House handily, setting the stage for further negotiations.

Republicans and Democrats have been in discussions for months regarding the debt limit as the deadline has approached.

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