Washington (CNN) – The Senate's "gang of eight" negotiators will reconvene next week to try to "assess where they are" in reaching a bipartisan compromise on a long-term debt deal that could help avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, a Senate aide told CNN.
The gang last met about a month ago at Mount Vernon in Virginia after most other lawmakers had left town to campaign for re-election. Congress returns for its post-election lame duck session Tuesday.
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Staff for the eight senators involved in the talks have been "crunching through some issues since Mt. Vernon" and "members will have to figure out the path forward once everybody returns," the aide said.
After the Mt. Vernon talks, which lasted multiple days, other aides indicated the senators had not made any breakthrough or any major progress on a deal.
Immediately after the election, top congressional leaders and President Obama began jockeying publicly about what they would or would not accept in a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Because of the direct involvement of the president and congressional leaders, it's not clear what role, if any, the gang of eight will play in reaching a final deal.
The Senate aide wouldn't say exactly where or when the group will meet, in keeping with efforts of the senator to keep out of the media spotlight.
The gang of eight includes Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Dick Durbin of Illinois, retiring Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Republicans Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Crapo of Idaho, and Mike Johanns of Nebraska.