Potential Senate Deal Would Fund US to Jan. 15, Raise Ceiling Through Feb. 15

"This is fairly simple and this whole shutdown has been completely unnecessary," he said. "Keep in mind that the problem isn't that the U.S. government has run out of money, the problem is not that our deficits are going up. ... The problem is that we've seen this brinksmanship as a strategy time and time again to try to extract extreme or partisan concessions."

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Reid met privately for a little more than a half-hour today with McConnell, the Republican leader.

As he left the meeting, which was before their Senate comments this afternoon at 2 p.m., Reid said there was no deal, yet.

"We're continuing to work on it." Reid told reporters. "It's not done yet."

Asked whether he thinks they will have an agreement before they head to the White House this afternoon, Reid said, "Sure hope so."

Aides on both sides tell ABC News they are optimistic for getting a deal -- even if it's a short-term one -- but don't know whether it will be today. There is still disagreement on how much to fund the government and whether the deep cuts from sequester will remain.

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