From National Journal:
Beating the Heat on Capitol Hill
What Happens if Eric Cantor Needs to Say 'Yes'
Ranking the Republican Candidates
NASA's Last Human Mission (For a While)
Cook Report: A Too-Close-To-Call 2012
Earlier in the day, after the group had met with President Obama at the White House, Boehner's office had issued a statement in which Boehner said, "As I said last night, over this weekend Congress will forge a responsible path forward. House and Senate leaders will be working to find a bipartisan solution to significantly reduce Washington spending and preserve the full faith and credit of the United States."
Responding to that outline, Democrats and President Obama in repeated statements Saturday made clear that a two-step debt ceiling increase is not acceptable to them.
Reid was particularly blunt, blaming Republican intransigence for pushing the country to the brink of default.
"I am deeply disappointed in the status of negotiations with my Republican colleagues. I have said repeatedly, including last night and again today, that I will not support any agreement that fails to raise the debt ceiling though the end of 2012," Reid said in a statement Saturday night.
"I hope that Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell will reconsider their intransigence. Their unwillingness to compromise is pushing us to the brink of a default on the full faith and credit of the United States. We have run out of time for politics. Now is the time for cooperation."
The dueling positions and public statements mask the fact that both sides are ready to agree to a two-step process, but the crucial sticking point, on which talks will likely focus is on the second debt ceiling increase.
In a conference call with Republican rank-and-file members after a meeting with President Obama and Congressional leaders Saturday morning, House Speaker John Boehner said he wants signs of significant progress on a package to raise the debt ceiling by 2 p.m. Sunday, before the Asian markets open. He told his members he is aware of the concerns that Asian markets could drop, if an agreement isn't close.
Boehner's office on Saturday morning chided Obama for opposing any proposal that does not raise the $14.3 trillion plan by enough to resolve the issue until after the November 2012 election, accusing the president of playing politics. "We do not know what size or shape a final package will take, but it would be terribly unfortunate if the president was willing to veto a debt limit increase simply because its timing would not be ideal for his re-election campaign," a Boehner aide said.
The White House reiterated its position against any short-term deal, saying in a statement that a brief extension could risk harming the economy and "causing every American to pay higher credit cards rates and more for home and car loans."