Closing in on shutdown and debt limit deal: Democrat Reid and Republican McConnell optimistic

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders appear to be closing in on a deal to avoid an economy-rattling Treasury default and end the two-week partial government shutdown.
   
After an intense day of negotiations with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared: "We've made tremendous progress," adding "Perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day."
   
McConnell also voiced optimism, although not as much as Reid.
   
Officials says in the discussion to date, the $16.7 trillion federal debt limit would be raised enough to permit the Treasury to borrow normally until mid-February, if not a few weeks longer. The government would reopen with enough money to operate until mid-January at levels set previously, and agencies would be given flexibility in adjusting to reduced funding levels imposed by across-the-board spending cuts.
   
However, the officials caution the details could change, and there's even more uncertainty about other elements of a possible deal.
   
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