Sat. Headline: No Progress in Debt Talks; Sunday: ‘Significant Progress’

July 31, 2011 - 8:49 AM

Debt Showdown

In this image from Senate television Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, speaks from the floor of the Senate late Saturday, July 30, 2011, at the Capitol in Washington. "There are many elements to be finalized...there is still a distance to go," Reid cautioned in dramatic late-night remarks on the Senate floor. Still, his disclosure that "talks are going on at the White House now," coupled with his saying progress had been made, offered the strongest indication yet that a default might be averted.(AP Photo/Senate Television)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Officials say the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are making significant progress toward a last-minute agreement to avoid a default threatened for next week.

These officials say the two sides are discussing a plan to raise the debt limit by about $2.4 trillion and enact spending cuts of a slightly larger amount in two stages.

The deal under discussion would also require Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but not require its approval.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the discussions.

On Saturday, as the Associated Press reported, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said there was no deal to break the debt impasse in Congress and that no weekend progress had been made as a default deadline approaches.

Reid made his comments on the Senate floor after the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said he was confident a deal would be reached. Democrat Reid said the Republicans "still refuse to negotiate in good faith."

McConnell on Saturday listened to Reid's remarks and then responded that he was more optimistic about the outcome. Said McConnell: "I think we've got a chance of getting there."