Reid Says Debt Ceiling Process Has NOT Moved Forward, McConnell Stands By Optimism

Jul 30, 2011 6:35pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

The mixed messages and fierce back-and-forth on the Senate floor continues.

Senate Majority Leader Reid just called out Senate Minorirty Leader Mitch McConnell for his confidence that the process is moving forward and that a deal is close.

“That’s not true,” Reid said just now on the Senate floor, “The process has not moved forward during this day.”

Reid said that he just spent two hours with the President, Vice President, Leader Pelosi and, that it was “fair for me to say the engagement there is not in any meaningful way. Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith." He noted that McConnell held a “meaningless” press conference earlier today.

“The Speaker and Republican Leader should know that merely saying you have an agreement in front of television cameras doesn’t make it so.  The Republican Leader says he’s engaged. Fortunately, members of his caucus, at least as far as I'm concerned, are more engaged than he is.”

BUT – McConnell then took to the floor and stood by his confidence, quipping that he had to “cut short” a conversation with Vice President Biden to get to the floor at that moment to speak.

“I’m more optimistic,” McConnell said, “I think we’ve got a chance of getting there.”

McConnell said the only way to get to an agreement is to work with the President and Vice President and pointed a finger at Reid.

“What is not helpful is the process we’re going through here on the Senate floor having as how votes over live quorums, having reluctance on the part of the majority to have a vote on a measure they favor, which we were prepared to vote on since last night.”

McConnell again called for a vote on cloture, which Reid objected to since he does not have the votes.

 “You can put lipstick on it, a nice suit, even a skirt on it sometimes, it’s still a filibuster,” Reid quipped back.

“I’m interested in getting an outcome for the American people,” McConnell said, “and the only way that can be done is with the President of the United States. And we’re going to continue to work on that, get this problem solved, let everyone in the country know that we’re not going to default for the first time in history. That’s how I’m going to spend my time.”

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