The letter was dated Friday, however, and McConnell's office would not say definitively whether Members had signed the letter before or after Reid's changes to the legislation, which include the Republican leader's framework that boosts the president's authority to raise the debt limit by constructing the extension of the nation's borrowing capacity as a series of votes of "disapproval."
"Our Members signed a letter to oppose the Reid plan, and that applies to the Reid plan as it stands today," McConnell spokesman John Ashbrook said.
Reid indicated Saturday that he has been speaking with a few rank-and-file Republicans about how to amend his offering to make it more palatable. To clear the first procedural vote on his plan, slated for 1 a.m. Sunday, Reid needs 60 votes. Fifty-three Members caucus with the Democrats, though Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) expressed his reservations about Reid's offering earlier this week and the four Republicans who did not sign McConnell's letter will not be enough to tip the scales.
"I would have hoped, though, that someone would come to us, come to the table, the bargaining table on behalf of the Republican caucus with ideas to improve a proposal already cut from Republican cloth," Reid said on the floor Saturday. "Democrats are willing to sit down and negotiate. My door is still open."
Sources close to both Reid and McConnell, however, said that the lines of communication between the two leaders — usually very open — recently have closed off.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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