Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin says breaking the debt stalemate is still possible if House Republicans drop "my way or the highway" thinking.
The Illinois Democrat tells NBC's "Today" show that attitude "just doesn't work when you've got the economy at stake."
Durbin says he understands public frustration with Congress, conceding people must be thinking they need "another team on the field."
He defended President Barack Obama's opposition to a short-term debt limit extension, saying that repeated budget fights will downgrade the U.S. credit rating and cause interest rates to go up.
Durbin says "what's at stake here is a very weak economy."
He accused the House Republican caucus of "basically showing its bravery" by trying to put the burden of spending cuts on the poor, sick and elderly.