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Senate Majority Leader Signs Debt Ceiling Deal

An end to the U.S. debt crisis coming? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signs deal with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/1/2011, 2:42 AM

In the wake of continued disagreements between the Republicans and Democrats over the U.S. debt ceiling, the Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that he has signed a debt ceiling deal with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, pending approval of his caucus.

CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has issued a statement confirming the pending deal, after legislative leaders dropped hints that an agreement was close.

“Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval,” said a statement released by his office.

Meanwhile, a senior Senate Democratic aide told CNN that the Democratic senators are likely to support the compromise and it.

But Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a House Democrat, said both sides were still working out final details to see how all the various provisions fit together.

“Obviously when you put together a compromise there are some things you don’t like and some things you may like, but how that mix balances out is something we’re looking at right now,” Van Hollen told CNN.

The August 2 deadline to reach a debt ceiling agreement is just around the corner and congressional leaders and the White House have been trying to complete the possible deal that would extend the debt limit through 2012.

On Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt ceiling and slash government spending.

It was, however, voted down by the Senate, leaving the two sides back at square one. The hope now is that Reid’s signing a compromise agreement will convince his caucus to support it and thus end the impasse.

Boehner advised his Republican caucus on Sunday that serious issues remain under discussion, but to be ready for a possible conference call to discuss the proposed deal.

But House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Sunday that Democrats in the House of Representatives might decide not to support the last-minute deal.

“We all may not be able to support it, or none us may be able to support it,” Pelosi was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters.