The Senate Races to Finalize Debt Plan

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Washington (CNN) — The U.S. government taps out its credit cards at midnight, and there is no deal yet in Washington. The wearyingly difficult process of trying to make a deal resumes Wednesday, as the government enters day 16 of the partial shutdown.

Legislators dropped hints on their way home Tuesday that Senate leaders will present a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the partially shuttered government. And a Republican member of the House of Representatives is holding out hope that Speaker John Boehner could break with a Republican tradition to put that deal on a fast track.

“I believe that John Boehner will likely be in a position, where he will have to essentially pass the bill that is negotiated between Sens. (Mitch) McConnell and (Harry) Reid,” said Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.

But another Republican, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, says GOP lawmakers intend to stand tough to save the country from what they consider to be out-of-control spending. And that midnight deadline to raise the nation’s self-imposed borrowing limit? Not that big of a deal, he told CNN’s “New Day.” A top GOP Senate aide said leaders in that chamber remain “optimistic an agreement can be reached,” the same tone sounded Tuesday after lawmakers called it a night around 10 p.m.

Senate staffers burned midnight oil to draft a framework bill, and a spokesman for Reid said he and his counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, “are optimistic that an agreement is within reach.” Reid, the Senate majority leader, sounded upbeat Tuesday night. “We’re in good shape,” the Nevada Democrat said.

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