Portman predicts debt deal by Thursday

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News

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With Congress and President Obama deadlocked in contentious battle over Obamacare and a possible U.S. default looming, Republican Sen. Rob Portman predicted that the two sides would come together by Thursday — the deadline for lawmakers to increase the nation's debt limit.

"We will have decided as a Congress that we need to avoid going over the debt limit and we'll figure it out," Portman said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "And it'll probably be a relatively short-term solution."

The Ohio Republican said that he believes lawmakers would also come to an agreement on the Affordable Care Act and end the partial government shutdown that began on Oct. 1.

"I oppose Obamacare; I think we ought to repeal it and replace it. And I think most Americans agree with that," Portman said. "But we can minimize the damage in this process by doing certain things that were consistent with the original Obamacare. ... I'm not suggesting there'll be a solution to all these long-term problems in the next two days. But I do think that we'll figure out a way to put off this, to have the discussion, and I'm hopeful we'll do that actually in the next couple days."

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, the Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate, agreed.

"I'm a hopeful person and I believe we can do it," the Illinois senator said. "I hope sensible people prevail. Because at this point, it isn't just a shutdown and all of the damage that it's caused.  But if we default on our debt, it will have a dramatic, negative impact on the savings account and retirement account for every American."

But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he couldn't foresee such a deal happening.

"I don't see one," Graham said Sunday on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

Graham said he was worried a deal originating in the Senate would be detrimental to Republicans in the House, particularly House Speaker John Boehner.

"Here's what I'm worried about," Graham said. "A deal coming out of the Senate, that a majority of Republicans can't vote for in the House — that really does compromise Speaker Boehner's leadership. After all this mess is over, do we really want to compromise John Boehner as leader of the House? I don't think so."

Like other members of the GOP, Republican Rep. Raúl Labrador expressed frustration with President Obama's refusal to negotiate on his signature health care law.

"We gave the president a pretty good offer," Labrador said. "The offer was we would extend the debt ceiling without any requirement for six weeks. That's so we can continue negotiations on the debt and then we can continue also negotiation on the continuing resolution, the actual budgeting and the actual spending bill that we need to do."

Labrador continued: "I don't see why the president is not accepting that and not working with us. I think it's been very difficult to work with him. He wouldn't come to the table to negotiate. Now that he's coming to the table, he rejected two offers. I thought that the House offer was a pretty reasonable one."

On CBS' "Face The Nation," Sen. John McCain said he wants to see both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden more involved in the shutdown and debt ceiling talks.

"Maybe we need to get Joe Biden out of the witness protection program," McCain quipped.

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