Durbin and Kyl Optimistic About Reaching Debt Deal

Posted July 31, 2011 at 9:40am

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) were both cautiously optimistic Sunday that an emerging debt deal would get the support it needs from both parties.

“I have a much more positive feeling than I did 24 hours ago. There is active negotiation under way,” Durbin said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “Key elements are still being resolved. … We want to move this forward. We want to avert this economic disaster.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) postponed a planned vote on Senate Democrats’ proposal to raise the country’s debt ceiling from late Saturday night to 1 p.m. Sunday, signaling that the two parties could be close to a possible compromise just two days before the Treasury Department estimates the country will run out of money to pay its bills and risk a possible default.

“The leaders of both parties were fixed on the Aug. 2 date,” Kyl said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Too bad we had to get this close to it.”

Durbin described the plan as including a down payment on the nation’s debt and the formation of a deficit committee to study the nation’s finances and recommend possible reforms. The trigger issue — the mechanism built into the agreement to pressure the newly created panel to actually come up with a savings plan — had become a “sticking point” in negotiations over the past few days, Durbin said, but was now close to resolution.

“We’re not returning to this before Christmas. We’re going to do this in a way so that the economy is not in suspense and doubt,” Durbin said.