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The partial shutdown of the US government has now lasted 16 days and another deadline is looming.
If Congress is unable to reach a compromise on the US's ability to borrow money, the government will go into default tomorrow. Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner was stymied by conservatives in the House yesterday on his proposed compromise to end the federal budget standoff.
Now, a bipartisan Senate plan put together by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is the only option left to prevent the government from defaulting on its bills. Boehner will have a majoirty on a bill that passed the Senate and would receive Democratic support in the House if Boehner brings it to the floor.
"Senator Reid and Senator McConnell have re-engaged in negotiations and are optimistic that an agreement is in reach," said a spokesperson for Harry Reid. The two Senators have "decided to work toward a solution," according to McConnell's spokesperson.
The primary topic of discussion in the Senate was a deal to extend the government's borrowing authority until February 7th and reopen some federal agencies that have been closed since October 1st.
"They are still working on the details between Senators McConnell and Reid. We are making good progress," said Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.
If the government does go into default tomorrow, it will likely be unable to pay everyone from bondholders to workers who are owed unemployment benefits. The US financial sector could also potentially by affected.
SOURCE: RedEye Chicago