as you know, we have one day left before, well, financial chaos. Here's where things stand right now. If you were watching yesterday, you know that it all might change in another 15 minutes:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are finalizing a deal to avert a debt default and reopen the government, capping a frantic day that had Washington bracing for an economic crisis of its own making.
The deal is essentially done, sources say, as aides for the two leaders finished drafting the legislative language Tuesday night. The Senate adjourned at about 10 p.m. with no official word on a deal and will reconvene at noon Wednesday.
Reid and McConnell are expected to brief their respective caucuses Wednesday, hours before the country could fail to pay its bills for the first time in history. Cooperation will be needed from members of both parties in order to avoid default as well as to end the first government shutdown in 17 years. And a Senate plan will need to clear the House, which has struggled to pass any bill to raise the national debt limit.
It remains to be seen whether Washington can end a growing national crisis that has alarmed world leaders and spooked financial markets. But the fact that the two deal-making Senate leaders have restarted negotiations lifted the spirits of senators after the House shelved plans to move its own proposal that had drawn the scorn of the White House.
“Things look a lot better than they did several hours ago,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
“In order to move this quickly tomorrow or as soon as possible thereafter we need the cooperation of members,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who said a deal is “close.”
“If they want to drag their feet, use every objection they can, it’s going to take a few days.”
Under the plan, a $986 billion government funding bill would reopen federal agencies until Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be lifted until Feb. 7. The two parties would be given the opportunity to cut a larger-scale budget agreement to slash future deficits as a bicameral conference committee would have until Dec. 13 to finalize such a deal.
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