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Gang of 6 Now Gang of 18??

Ok - not really.

But, as the "Gang of Six Minus Coburn" (Durbin says he calls it "Five Guys") has had trouble with how to move forward in the absence of a major GOP player, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, they decided to convene a meeting with 13 of their colleagues today behind closed doors.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-ND, a member of the original gang, told reporters that the group was bipartisan, though he would not give the breakdown or say who participated.

"The goal is to inform people of where we are," he said.

Conrad described the briefing as a "progress report" - an update for colleagues on the progress the smaller group has made.

Still, one big problem remains. This doesn't answer the question of what gang members will do with any final work product if Coburn, who has taken a break from the talks and is working on his own plan to cut the debt by $9 trillion, is not back on board.  Gang member/Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has made it clear there is no deal without Coburn.

So, essentially, they're a bit stuck, but trying to move forward. Whether or not they succeed is anyone's guess.