CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., believes that avoiding a default on the country's debts is "the most important thing" federal lawmakers can do and he is hopeful that the government shutdown crisis might end this week.
"Nothing is final, but everything is in a positive position. [Five] Democrats and six Republicans are proposing a solution," Manchin said during a telephone press conference Monday afternoon.
The Republicans are: Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Mike Johanns, R-Neb.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; and John McCain, R-Ariz.
In addition to Manchin, the Democrats are: Sens. Amy Klobuhchar, D-Minn.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
Angus King, I-Maine, has also joined the Democrats.
"We worked out what we thought was a good offer and shared it with the [Senate] leadership," Manchin said.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was against the proposal. But yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he supported it.
"Both of them are now working together," Manchin said Monday. "Funding the government is the most important thing we can do, making sure we don't default."
Manchin said compromise legislation intended to avoid a default "would last at least until the first of January.
"We would also mandate that [both houses of Congress] should go into a budget conference. The Democrats have a budget proposal and the Republicans in the House have a budget proposal," Manchin said. "They need to start meeting. They must meet and report back two weeks before the debt ceiling is reached.
"A lot of Democrats want to change the sequestering things. But it is the law," Manchin said.
Those Democrats want to overturn, or modify, across-the-board spending cuts in both domestic and military defense programs, which Republicans see as key to cutting the growing national deficit.
"And Republicans are trying to change Obamacare by de-funding it. You can't do that," Manchin said. "It has to go through the process of repairs or repeals. [It] has to go through the legislative process."
Both sides need to compromise, he argued, and allow the debt-ceiling limit to increase "a little further into February, or March, or April, under the continuing resolutions."
Manchin said some compromises have already been reached.