A bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six" says it's nearing agreement on a major deficit-cutting plan. They say they've gotten a positive reaction after briefing about half of the Senate on it.
The effort was sealed after Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn rejoined the group after winning concessions on additional cuts to costly federal health care programs.
The plan calls for an immediate $500 billion "down payment" on cutting the deficit as the starting point toward cuts of more than $4 trillion over the coming decade that would be finalized in a second piece of legislation.
The development comes as, separately, lawmakers and the Obama administration are struggling to come up with a way to lift the nation's borrowing cap and avoid a default on U.S. obligations.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.