WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - Amid the sound and fury of the debt-ceiling debate, the most influential person may be the one who didn't say a word in public on Friday.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell stayed away from microphones and bright lights on Friday as President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner accused each other in dueling news conferences of not having a "serious" plan to avert an imminent default.
The Senate was officially out of session, but Democratic and Republican staffers continued work on McConnell's plan that may yet steer the ship of state away from the iceberg of fiscal disaster.
That plan, described as a "backup" by McConnell when he introduced it on Tuesday, is increasingly seen as the only possible way to agreement in a rancorous partisan environment.
Obama and Boehner haven't exactly embraced the plan, but they're not dismissing it either. Obama said it would "at least avert Armageddon" -- which at this stage in the debate might count as a victory.
Washington Extra is a daily newsletter about politics and economics in Washington, sent to subscribers by e-mail.
To be added to the mailing list on a complimentary basis, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are our top stories from Washington:
Obama, Republicans trade demands for debt plan
President Obama and Republicans traded demands for a serious deficit plan, as a stalemate deepened in negotiations to avert a looming default. [ID:nN1E76D26R]
Cantor upstaging Boehner in debt talks
John Boehner is being upstaged in the battle to raise the debt limit by his younger and more partisan deputy, who is widely seen as wanting his job. [ID:nN1E76E1GQ]
Obama urges compromise to ease way for trade deals
President Obama urged Republicans to pave the way for quick approval of trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama by cooperating to extend a program to help workers who have lost their job because of trade. [ID:nN1E76E0RN]
Gloomy U.S. consumers cast dark cloud over economy
Consumer confidence hit a near 2-1/2 year low in early July and manufacturing output stalled in June, further frustrating expectations of a quick economic rebound in the second half of the year. [ID:nN1E76E0DF]
Senate bill would kill stock option tax break
A tax code loophole that gives corporations large deductions on executive stock options would be closed under newly proposed legislation. [ID:nN1E76E1MJ] (Editing by Todd Eastham)