Reporters wait for U.S. Senators in Capitol building on October 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. As Democratic and Republican leaders negotiate an end to the shutdown and a way to raise the debt limit, the White House postponed a planned Monday afternoon meeting with Boehner and other Congressional leaders. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - Amid signs of progress on a deal that could end the partial government shutdown and prevent default, about a dozen senators are playing a role in finding a solution.
While the key players in the negotiations are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his GOP counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, here's a look at some other senators who are trying to help.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-Maine: One of the few remaining GOP moderates, Collins pushed forward a plan that would extend government funding for six months, raise the debt ceiling until the end of January and delay for two years the medical-device tax - an important revenue generator for President Obama's health care law. The White House said over the weekend it had concerns with the proposal, but Collins and her group have kept on tinkering. Collins, who is up for re-election next year, has credibility with senators from both parties.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN, D-W.Va.: The West Virginia Democrat, often a critic of the Obama administration, has been working closely with Collins on a "template" to break the stalemate on fiscal issues. He told reporters Monday that sticking points are the length of the stopgap bill to fund the government and how long the debt ceiling will be raised. He also is hopeful the House GOP will accept the terms. "There's a little more at stake right now," he said. "I think they all realize what's at stake."
SENS. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H., and LISA MURKOWSKI, R-Alaska: Collins has often pointed to the roles her sister GOP senators are playing in the budget talks. Ayotte called the original proposal "common sense," and noted it contained components that both parties have supported. Murkowski said on the Senate floor last week, "the country expects us to get our act together." It should be noted that when the Senate convened this year with a record 20 women, Collins was the one who noted that the women would have reached a budget deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-Minn.: The former Hennepin County attorney is no stranger to negotiations. First elected in 2006, Klobuchar is sometimes mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union program Sunday, Klobuchar predicted there would be a deal in place before Thursday's deadline to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. "We're not just going to play these games," Klobuchar said. "We're actually going to put a framework out and move forward and that's what we're doing in the Senate."
Contributing: Susan Davis