Debt Ceiling Deadline Looms, Default At Stake (LATEST UPDATES)

WASHINGTON — White House and congressional negotiators sought on Sunday to reassure the nation that they would beat a Tuesday deadline for averting a federal default.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said negotiators were "very close" to sealing a deal that would cut spending by some $3 trillion over the next decade while raising the debt ceiling through 2013 in a two-stage process. The Treasury says it will not be able to meet all its debt obligations if Congress does not act by Tuesday.

Details of a possible accord began emerging Saturday night after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor that the two sides were trying to nail down loose ends and complete an agreement.

"I'm glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise, and hope it bears fruit," he said.

A Democratic official said on Sunday that while bargainers were not on the cusp of a deal, one could gel quickly. A Republican said there was consensus on general concepts but cautioned there were no guarantees of a final handshake. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

Any pact would have to quickly pass both chambers of Congress after a rancorous period that has seen the two parties repeatedly belittle each other's efforts to end the standoff.

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