Bipartisan negotiators appear to have reached a compromise on cutting just over $100 billion from the Senate economic stimulus bill, but the plan needs to be vetted with rank-and-file Democrats before an official deal can be announced.
Senate Democrats convened a special caucus meeting to discuss the compromise at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Aides said the rough outlines of the deal would pare the package from nearly $920 billion to $780 billion through a combination of cuts to overall government spending and a reduction in the amount of tax cuts in the measure.
If a deal is reached, Democrats expect at least three Republicans to join them in passing a bill. It was unclear if a vote could be held on either the amendment or the bill as a whole on Friday night, given that some Republicans were expected to request additional debate time.
Theres a sense that progress has been made, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said. Theres enough to talk about with the caucus.
The Senate will begin voting on amendments to the measure around 7 p.m. A vote on final passage could occur after that if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) believes he has the necessary votes.
Were going to have votes later tonight. I apologize for having nothing more definite than that, but at this time thats all I can do, Reid said in a brief floor statement.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.