WASHINGTON -- Top House Democrats are making positive but cautious comments about a deficit-reduction proposal by a bipartisan group of senators called the Gang of Six.
At a brief appearance with reporters Wednesday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said "No" when asked whether she would advise Democratic lawmakers to vote against the proposal. But shortly afterward, her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, expressed uncertainty that her remark represented a definitive position, cautioning that the Gang of Six plan lacked specifics and was still subject to negotiation.
Separately, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee said the Gang of Six proposal is promising but there's likely too little time for Congress to act before the Aug. 2 default deadline.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said "there's still a lot of details that have not come out."
The congressman told MSNBC that the new outline suggested by three Democrat and three Republican senators "provides some additional momentum" for ending the political stalemate. He added, however, "it's really hard to get our caucus to focus" without more details.
Van Hollen said "we need to proceed with Plan B in case this thing unravels." He was referring to a proposal to give President Barack Obama authority to increase the debt limit incrementally.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, however, offered a less positive reaction to the plan during an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Tuesday night. He suggested that the numbers "don't add up."
"You couldn't get the Congressional Budget Office to score this bill by August 2, not alone crafting the bill," he said in sharing his take on the proposal. "So, what they are talking about is a framework which would be, we didn't agree to a framework and then the details will be filled in later, as best I can understand what this is. I'll tell you what this does do know. There are people putting plans on the table, that's good. I'm glad people are putting plans on the table."