POLITICS: PennAve

Rob Portman, Dick Durbin predict a short-term debt deal by Thursday

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Politics,Taxes,Debt Ceiling,Medicare and Medicaid,Entitlements,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Dick Durbin,Government Shutdown,Rob Portman

Sen. Rob Portman, a key player on federal budget matters, predicted Sunday that the deeply divided Congress would this week come up with a short-term solution to re-open the government and avoid sending the government into default.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Portman, R-Ohio, said Congress would likely reach a deal by Thursday night's debt ceiling deadline that would put off decisions on other major fiscal issues like spending cuts until some months down the road.

“I'm a yes on a deal by Thursday,” he said. “It will probably be a relatively short-term solution. ... We will figure out a way to put this off to have the discussion [on Obamacare fixes, entitlement reforms and other fiscal matters] and I'm hopeful that we will do this is the next coming days.”

The Senate's top Democrat and top Republican sat down Saturday to begin hashing out a deal to reopen the government that on Sunday entered its 13th day of a shutdown. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also are trying to craft an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling before Thursday to avoid a government default.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said an accord will be reached on the debt ceiling in time to avoid the economic damage of a default.

He agreed with Portman that Congress needs to tackle long-term reforms in entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security that are driving the majority of the nation's budget woes.

"We need to put everything on the table,” he said. “We know that Medicare has 10 years before it becomes insolvent and Social Security has 20 years or less.”

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