A fifth day of negotiations between President Obama and congressional leaders has concluded but they've yet to reach a deal to raise the country's debt ceiling. The AP reports, however that unlike yesterday's dramatic conclusion to the negotiations, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "pronounced the session a good one."
"We're going to continue to discuss a way forward over the next couple of days and see what happens," McConnell said.
As clock ticks down, here's where we stand:
-- The president and congressional leaders will not meet tomorrow. Instead, reports Reuters, the president has asked lawmakers "to go back to their party members and gauge support for components of a debt and deficit deal, a Democratic official said." A meeting will likely occur over the weekend.
-- Politico reports Obama wants a deal by tomorrow. They quote Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL):
"The president has expressed to the group that by Friday, we have to get something done," Durbin said Thursday. "And it's realistic because if we're going to extend the debt ceiling, it takes some time to not only write the bill, but to have it scored and move forward."
Asked if that meant Congress must move to another option if a deal isn't reached Friday, Durbin said: "We will have no choice at that point but to turn to some other option."
-- The Washington Post reports that McConnell's back-up plan is still alive. The plan would give President Obama the power to single-handedly raise the debt ceiling. The Post quotes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH):
"Mitch described his proposal as a 'last-ditch effort' in case we're unable to do anything else," Boehner said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. "And what may look like something less-than-optimal today, if we're unable to get to an agreement, might look pretty good a couple of weeks from now. But I think it's worth keeping on the table."