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Senators say debt, shutdown deal is near


WASHINGTON - Senate leaders said Monday they are close to an agreement to reopen government and avoid an unprecedented U.S. debt default before the Thursday deadline.

"We hope with good fortune and the support of all you (senators) -recognizing how hard this is for everybody - that perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday evening on the Senate floor.

President Obama: Without deal 'good chance of default'

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says that if Republicans can't resolve the standoff over the debt ceiling and the partial government shutdown, quote, "we stand a good chance of defaulting."

Obama was at a Washington D.C. charity that has been highlighting the effects of the partial government shutdown by inviting furloughed workers to volunteer. The agency, Martha's Table, is also offering assistance to federal employees who are not being paid and need emergency aid.

The visit comes on the 14th day of the shutdown and just three days before the Treasury says Congress must increase the nation's borrowing limit or risk a government default.

Later Monday, Obama was meeting with the bipartisan congressional leadership.

Obama says the problem is politicians using brinkmanship to extract partisan concessions.

Lawmakers talking ahead of debt ceiling deadline

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- We're now two weeks into the government shutdown.  Politicians on Capitol Hill are running out of time to avoid hitting the debt ceiling and defaulting on

Sunday, negotiations between the White House and Republicans in the House stalled. Monday at 2 p.m., the Senate heads back to work. Lawmakers say progress is being made but it is moving very, very slowly.

If Congress doesn't step in, the country will plunge into default Thursday. Lawmakers say they don't want to see that happen, but as of now, no one has come up with a plan to avoid it.

Susan Collins of Maine is now leading a bipartisan deal that would fund the government at current levels for six months while raising the debt limit through Jan. 31.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Collins' plan treats reopening the government as a, quote, "concession." That calls for delayed apportions of the Affordable Care Act.

All eyes on Senate to end shutdown, raise debt limit

(CBS) -- With the collapse of talks between the White House and House Republicans, all eyes are now on the Senate to broker a deal that reopens the government and lifts the debt ceiling before the government reaches the end of its borrowing authority - and potentially defaults on the nation's debt - on Thursday.

The Senate convened for a rare weekend session on Sunday, 13 days into the government shutdown and only one day after two separate plans to resolve the standoff ran aground in the upper chamber. One, a proposal offered by Democrats that would raise the debt ceiling through 2014 without any legislative add-ons, was blocked by a unified caucus of 45 Senate Republicans.

Biden mostly out of sight as shutdown drags on

WASHINGTON (USA Today) - Who's missing from this latest round of Capitol Hill crises? Joe Biden.

In prior budget battles, the vice president has ridden to the rescue, striking last-minute deals with his former colleague, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. But with the government partially shut down and a possible debt ceiling crisis around the corner, Biden is keeping a low profile.

Administration officials say he's participated in all the group meetings President Obama has held with congressional Republicans and Democrats on the shutdown, including one with all Senate Republicans on Friday, and he undoubtedly will be involved behind the scenes if any deal moves forward. These sources requested anonymity to speak freely about the vice president's role.

"He's in the loop on all of this stuff," an administration official said of Biden.

House GOP, White House seeking end to budget fight

WASHINGTON (AP) - Officials say House Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the partial government shutdown as part of a package that includes cuts in benefit programs.

Senior aides to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor outlined the proposal at a late-night White House meeting Thursday with senior administration officials.

In addition to ending the shutdown and increasing the debt limit, the proposal includes an easing of the across-the-board spending cuts that began taking effect a year ago, and replacing them with curbs in benefit programs that Obama himself has backed.

Among them is a plan to raise the cost of Medicare for better-off beneficiaries.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss private deliberations.

Government shutdown: White House & GOP leaders talking

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Republicans and Democrats appear to be working toward a possible solution to end the government shutdown and avoid defaulting on loans.

House Republicans are working on a bill to raise the nation's borrowing limit without any restrictions. No agreement has been reached, but both sides called talks productive.

We know White House staffers along with Congressional staffers worked overnight on this particular deal. Some insiders say if all goes well, we could see the government reopen as early as tomorrow.