The Washington Times - October 16, 2013, 11:36AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday he is “cautiously optimistic” the Senate will pass a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt limit alongside a House vote that cobbles together enough votes from Republicans and Democrats.

The Vermont independent, one of the chamber’s most liberal members who caucuses with Democrats, told MSNBC he is confident the “nightmare will end,” but declined to guess whether conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, will try to hold up any vote.

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Mr. Cruz led the charge to defund Obamacare as part of any deal to fund the federal government, a push that won him praise from the conservative activist groups and scorn from Democrats and some of his Republican colleagues.

“Right-wing extremists like Cruz have already done his country irreparable harm,” Mr. Sanders told the program, saying the deadlock has tarnished America’s international reputation.