Talking seen as 'breakthrough' on Capitol Hill
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois
October 13th, 2013
11:20 AM ET
10 months ago

Talking seen as 'breakthrough' on Capitol Hill

Washington (CNN) - The bar seems to be set pretty low on Capitol Hill, as one top lawmaker says just having Democrats and Republicans talking is a “breakthrough” - even though the two sides don’t have a deal in the midst of a multifaceted budget crisis.

Talks both on ending the government shutdown and on avoiding the debt ceiling have shifted to the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with other top senators, began discussions on Saturday.

"It's a breakthrough. Hard to imagine, but it's a breakthrough. We've reached a point where House Republicans and their leadership have stepped to the sidelines. They're not part of this at this point," Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

As for getting a deal by Thursday, when the nation does hit the debt ceiling, Durbin said he thinks Congress will ultimately get the job done.

"I'm a hopeful person. I believe we can do it. I hope sensible people prevail, because at this point it's not just a shutdown and all of the damage it’s caused, but if we default on our debt it will have a dramatic impact on the savings account, on the retirement account of average Americans," Durbin said.

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he too thinks Congress will find a way out of the crisis before Thursday.

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

When it comes to ultimate blame for the deadlock, Portman said both sides are to blame and have been for a long time.

"The greatest act of bipartisanship over the last couple decades has been Republicans and Democrats alike overpromising and overspending,” Portman said.


Filed under: Dick Durbin • Government Shutdown • Rob Portman
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    I have said it before, and I will say it again, "go home Dick." The GOP has been drooling over causing a shut down for years, and you seem too eager to fold. As for Portman, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

    October 13, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    We need to stop buying Koch brothers gasoline products since they started this mess. Do not use Conoco, Chevron, Union, and Union 76.

    October 13, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Tigas

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ...Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
    BHO

    October 13, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Ron -IN

    America has reached a serious crossroads. The MAIN reason is APATHY among the populous. To many of us do not actively participate in the process until something goes TERRIBLY WRONG. So America if you are TRULY fed up with the current situation? WE need to do 3 things to turn it around:
    a) DEMAND that the individual states have congressional districts determined by non-partisan committees. There are
    too many "safe seats" for both Democratic and Republicans members of the house.
    b) Move ALL voting elections to SATURDAY or make it a PAID HOLIDAY.
    c) Quit just complaining and VOTE in both Primaries and General elections!!!!

    THINK about it, America is "suppose" to be the beacon of Democracy and we NEVER see elections were 70% of the electorate votes. If most of us voted in the PRIMARIES and the GENERAL elections 80% of the uncompromising Congress Members would not be in office. You see, what we are experiencing is our OWN FAULT!!! Apathy has finally caught up to us, the question is WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NOW!!

    October 13, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    There are no breakthroughs.

    Obama refuses to compromise on a single issue. This will continue, and it is unlikely to end.

    October 13, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Thomas

    On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he too thinks Congress will find a way out of the crisis before Thursday.
    ====
    One of the few respectable GOP being responsible.

    The Speaker needs to put a clean spending bill on the floor for a vote , take it from there !

    October 13, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Saxo Grammaticus

    Cruz worked to turn out the lights. Now he complains about being in the dark.

    October 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. PortOurTroops

    Rob– whatever happened to correcting the economic problems left by Bush? That is two unfunded, unbudgeted wars and a ruined economy due to easing regulation on banks and Wall Street.. If "We will have decided as a Congress that we need to avoid going over the debt limit, " how would we have kept from falling deeper into the depression–perhaps even deeper than the one in 1929?

    The job of getting the economy going again has not been done. Obama has rightly pursued a "slow and steady wins the race" path, and that is seen by any economic measure you could point to. And this has been done in spite of all the Republican adversarial methods. Now, if the Republicans would work FOR progress rather than CONservatism, America might lead again. As it is now, Obama is still paying off the unnecessary wars during continued tax cuts for the wealthy and which has created hardship for the common people.

    October 13, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |