Congressional Republican leaders raised the prospect of a breakthrough Saturday in an impasse over raising the debt ceiling that has put the nation on the verge of a potentially catastrophic default.
Immediately after the House rejected a Democratic proposal for raising the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared before reporters to say they are in negotiations with President Obama and that a deal will be reached before a critical Aug. 2 deadline.
"Our country is not going to default for the first time in history," McConnell said as he posed with Boehner in the Speaker's Capitol Hill office on the 2nd floor. "That is not going to happen. We now have a level of seriousness with the right people at the table that we needed. We’re going to get a result."
Boehner concurred: "Despite our differences, we are dealing with reasonable, responsible people who want this crisis to end as quickly as possible and I think we will."
As Boehner and McConnell spoke, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were at the White House in discussions with President Obama.
But the White House and top Republican sources on Capitol Hill cautioned that no agreement has yet been reached.
Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer used the social networking site Twitter to declare: "RE GOP presser: 1) Both McConnell and Reid have said there was no agreement 2) House GOP couldn’t even pass the bill they think was agreed to."