Reid, McConnell Meet in Bid to End Impasse

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Urgency Grows to Avoid U.S. Debt Crisis, Reopen Government.

The Senate’s top Democrat and Republican opened negotiations on Saturday aimed at avoiding a U.S. debt crisis and reopening the government, marking a new chapter and new urgency in efforts to resolve the political stalemate in Congress.

The talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) were their first face-to-face negotiations since the government shutdown began on Oct. 1, and showed a changed dynamic in the Capitol. House Republicans, a dominant force in budget battles, have been sidelined after withdrawing many of their policy demands, only to see President Barack Obama reject their proposal for ending the impasse.

Instead, the focus has turned to the Senate, where members of both parties had started talks in recent days on a compromise proposal, before discussions were elevated to Messrs. Reid and McConnell on Saturday.

“The real conversation that matters now is the one that’s taking place between McConnell and Reid,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.).

The two Senate leaders met around 9 a.m. on Saturday for about 45 minutes, along with Sens. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.). Mr. Reid said Mr. Alexander called him on Friday night to initiate the talks at Mr. McConnell’s request.

“This should be seen as something very positive, even though we don’t have anything done yet and a long ways to go before anything like that will happen,” Mr. Reid said Saturday afternoon.

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