With Congress failing to strike a deal over the weekend, the next round in the debt battle belongs to the Senate as Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell try to reach an agreement.
President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with Reid, D-Nev.; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. That meeting was canceled at the last minute to allow more time to work on a deal.
A White House official told MarketWatch that the president scheduled the meeting in order to “make clear the need for Congress to act to pay our bills, and reopen the government.”
“We have had an opportunity over the last couple of days to have some very constructive exchanges of views about how to move forward,” McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor. “Those discussions continue, and I share [the] optimism that we’re going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides.”
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Indeed, Joe Lieber of Washington Analysis noted in his Monday morning commentary that despite setbacks over the weekend, he believes the debt ceiling will be increased “in some fashion” by Thursday, partially influenced by the fact that Reid and McConnell, “who was instrumental in getting a deal in 2011, are talking and trying to work out an agreement.”
Said Lieber: “While there is no love lost between these two, we had worried that because of the difficult primary McConnell is facing he would be mostly absent from the negotiations, but that clearly isn’t the case. McConnell’s participation in the negotiations is nothing but positive.”
A few of the “major disagreements” to likely emerge from the Reid-McConnell negotiations, Lieber said, are “over discretionary funding levels and the duration of the debt limit and continuing resolution” to reopen the government.