11:45 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Officials say the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are making significant progress toward a last-minute agreement to avoid a default threatened for next week.

These officials say the two sides are discussing a plan to raise the debt limit by about $2.4 trillion and enact spending cuts of a slightly larger amount in two stages.

The deal under discussion would also require Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but not require its approval.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the discussions.

10:49 p.m.: Obama, congressional leaders attempt debt compromise

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are making a last-minute stab at compromise tonight to avoid a government default threatened for early next week.

“There are many elements to be finalized … there is still a distance to go,” Majority Leader Harry Reid cautioned in dramatic late-night remarks on the Senate floor.

Still, his disclosure that “talks are going on at the White House now,” coupled with his saying progress had been made, offered the strongest indication yet that a default might be averted.

White House officials had no immediate comment.

Reid said that at the request of White House officials, he was postponing a test vote set for shortly after midnight on his own legislation to raise the debt limit while cutting spending.

Republicans opposed the bill and said in advance they had the votes to block its advance.

There were no details immediately available on what the terms might be of any compromise.

Without legislation in place by Tuesday, administration officials say the Treasury will run out of funds to pay all the nation’s bills. They say a subsequent default could prove catastrophic for the U.S. economy and send shockwaves around the world.

The president is seeking legislation to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by about $2.4 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections. Over many weeks, he has agreed to Republican demands that deficits be cut — without a requirement for tax increases — in exchange for additional U.S. borrowing authority.