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Manchin: Senate is 70%-80% close to a deal

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WASHINGTON (CNN)The Senate is 70% to 80% close to a deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said Monday on CNN's "New Day."

"I think we're 70%-80% there, putting the extra 20-25% to it," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "When should the (continuing resolution) come due, when should the debt ceiling come due, and does that give that time for the budget conference, the budget committees to sit down and work through this? Those are the details that have to be worked out."
 

Manchin and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine over the weekend led a bipartisan group of 10 other senators to draft a plan that would end the ongoing stalemate in Washington. He said they have a "good template," and he believes both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are looking at the plan.

Reid, however, rejected the plan on Saturday, saying it's "not going to go anyplace at this stage."

"There are two good things in it, "Reid said Saturday in a press conference. "Number one, it opens the government. Number two, it extends the debt ceiling. Other than that there's little agreement with us."

The Senate voted on a separate procedural measure to extend the debt limit with no strings attached on Saturday, but the measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed.

Collins said Sunday she "was very surprised" when she heard Reid make his decision about the bipartisan proposal.

"I was very surprised when Senator Reid said that, I don't know why he said it. I don't think it was very constructive," Collins said on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley." "But the fact is we have a responsibility to govern and we're continuing to talk and I'm still hopeful that at least we sparked a dialogue that did not exist before we put out a plan."

So what exactly was in their plan?

The framework called for a longer extension of the debt limit and government funding, as well as a two-year delay on the 2.3% tax on medical devices, which is used to help pay for the new federal health care law. The plan would also give federal agencies greater flexibility to deal with the forced spending cuts known as sequestration.

Manchin further explained Monday the deal would include verification measures to prevent people from "scamming or frauding" the health care insurance system. According the agreement, the Senate and the House would go to conference to reconcile their differences and work out a long-term budget deal. The deadline for the budget conference, however, is one of the details in the plan that hasn't been worked out.

The Treasury Department says it will be unable to pay the government's bills unless the debt limit is increased by Thursday. The partial shutdown of government services has been in effect since October 1.

The Senate reconvened briefly Sunday afternoon but adjourned with no signs of progress on a deal. The Senate meets again Monday at 2 p.m. ET, while the House meets at noon.

Before leaving Capitol Hill on Sunday, Reid struck a positive note as he spoke on the Senate floor.

"I've had a productive conversation with the Republican leader this afternoon. Our discussions were substantive and we'll continue those discussions. I'm optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion," he said.

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