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Congress is closing in on a deal to end the partial government shutdown and avert default with just hours to go before the U.S. hits its debt limit, NBC News reported. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were were putting the finishing touches on a plan Wednesday, and were expected to reinstate government spending through mid-January and extend the debt limit through early February. Their plan also called for lawmakers to work toward agreement on an overarching budget by Dec. 13, as well as stricter income verification for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, according to NBC. House Speaker John Boehner is prepared to rely on Democratic votes to pass an expected Senate bipartisan deal, sources told NBC News. But the situation remained fluid with Senate leaders yet to formally announce an agreement. U.S. stocks surged Wednesday morning, a sign that investors still remain optimistic that Washington will avert a debt default -- even after Fitch credit rating agency put the U.S. on "rating watch negative," signaling a downgrade in the country's AAA credit rating if an agreement on raising the debt limit is not reached. Check out a NBC News liveblog amid the fast-moving developments.

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