Harry Reid: “Perhaps Tomorrow Will Be a Bright Day”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday evening on the Senate floor that they are close to a deal that could end the shutdown.

“We’ve made tremendous progress. We are not there yet, but tremendous progress. And everyone just needs to be patient,” Reid said. “Perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day.”

The potential deal would extend the debt limit through February 7 and finance the federal government until January 15. From the Washington Post:

The framework under consideration includes only minor changes to President Obama’s signature health-care law, falling well short of defunding it or delaying major provisions as conservative Republicans initially sought. Instead, Republicans would get only new safeguards to ensure that people who receive federal subsidies to purchase health insurance under the law are eligible to receive them.

But talks were hung up over another provision, aides and lawmakers said: a demand by Democrats to delay the law’s “belly button tax,” a levy on existing policies that is set to add $63 per covered person — including spouses and dependents — to the cost of health insurance next year. Republicans derided the proposal as a special favor to organized labor.

Of course, it's not clear if the Senate deal would be approved by the more conservative House Republicans, who have demanded a complete repeal or delay of Obama's health-care law.

“We’ve got a name for it in the House: it’s called the Senate surrender caucus,” Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, told the New York Times. “Anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.”

[Image via AP]