Senate leaders said Monday that they were optimistic that they would reach a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit. But time is short, and the House is a wild card.
A planned meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders Monday afternoon was postponed right as the meeting was supposed to take place – but that may actually be a sign that an end is in sight to the debt-limit negotiations as well as the two-week-old government shutdown.
Leadership from both parties expressed optimism that they were nearing an agreement that could end the standoff before Thursday's deadline for raising the debt ceiling, and the White House, while it did not set a new date for the meeting, said in a statement that the meeting was postponed to "allow leaders in the Senate time to continue making important progress towards a solution that raises the debt limit and reopens the government."
Earlier on Monday, Mr. Obama had warned lawmakers that if they don't reach a resolution, the US has "a good chance of defaulting" – which could have devastating economic repercussions.
The Senate has been making steady progress toward a deal, and the current one gaining traction reportedly would fund the government through the end of the year and raise the debt ceiling until mid-February. It would also call for new budget negotiations to happen before the next round of sequestration cuts takes effect, and might make some minor concessions on the Affordable Care Act, including a delay of the tax on medical devices.