Washington (CNN)– A back-up plan proposed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that would keep the U.S. government from defaulting on its debts next month is viable and under consideration by Senate Democrats, according to Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber.
“We’re talking about it as one of the options, yes,” Durbin said in response to a question about whether the McConnell plan is viable.
Durbin spoke to reporters upon returning to the Capitol after a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama and bipartisan congressional leaders who are trying to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 and stave off an unprecedented U.S. default.
Durbin’s reaction is the first concrete response from congressional Democrats to the proposal McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced Tuesday afternoon. Until now, aides and others have withheld comment as they considered the details of McConnell’s complex plan.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, who also participated in the White House meeting, confirmed the proposal was discussed, but declined to say whether it would be adopted.
The McConnell fallback option to the debt impasse would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling with three short-term increases through the end of his first term.