07.31.11 2:04 PM ET
McConnell: 'Very Close' to Deal
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell disclosed Sunday morning that the White House and Congress were "very close" to a deal to raising the debt limit that would cut as much as $3 trillion from the nation's deficit over the next decade.
A key component of the deal, McConnell told CNN, was a two-step process in which Congress would approve some cuts this week and then create a first-ever joint committee of Congress with equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats to identify the second round of cuts, including those affecting entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
The emerging deal would also throw a major bone to the raucous Tea Party wing of the GOP, requiring both chambers to vote on a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
"I'm very close to being able to recommend to my members that we have an agreement here that I hope they will consider supporting," McConnell told CNN's State of the Union program.
The deal would follow months of bickering in Congress and countless failed negotiations and plans offered by Democrats and Republicans alike. It was being struck between President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and Democratic leaders in the Congress.
The talks made enough progress Saturday night that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to delay a vote on his own deficit plan to give time for the bigger deal to emerge.