Congress closing in on a deal to avert US default

Top Democrats in both houses of Congress emerged from a Sunday afternoon crisis meeting, with the party's leader in the Senate saying he hoped the upper chamber would vote soon on a compromise deal that would raise the nation's borrowing limit and avert an unprecedented default on its debt.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters who flocked around him as he left the office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, that he hoped there would be a vote on the plan Sunday night.

But as time dragged on and House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, scheduled a conference telephone call with his rank and file, the likelihood of any vote Sunday night appeared less likely.

Reid later issued a statement saying he had signed off on a pending agreement, subject to approval by the Democratic rank and file in the Senate.

There were indications the deal had found sufficient backing from Senate Democrats. But it still lacked support among the most liberal Democrats and conservative, tea party-backed Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Pelosi said she would be meeting with House Democrats about the compromise measure on Monday.