(For more on the fiscal impasse, see EXT2.)
Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders said they are optimistic about ending a partial government shutdown and preventing the nation from breaching the debt ceiling in three days.
"I’m very optimistic that we will reach an agreement that’s reasonable in nature this week," Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor today following talks with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell said he shares Reid’s optimism.
The movement toward a deal in the Senate today marked the strongest signals yet that Congress may be able to increase U.S. borrowing authority before it lapses Oct. 17 and end the shutdown that started Oct. 1. Any proposal could face procedural delays in the Senate and an uncertain path in the Republican- controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner would have to decide whether to allow a vote or make changes.
Reid, McConnell, Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House at 3 p.m.
If Congress does nothing, the federal government would start missing payments sometime between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
"It’s not put together until it’s put together," said Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat. "But I am quite confident it will be put together before the debt limit is reached and before things start to go haywire."
U.S. stocks trimmed earlier declines amid signs of progress on an accord.