Opening a rare Sunday session of the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are continuing talks to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government--but gave no hint of progress in the negotiations.
"We’re in conversation today," Reid said on the Senate floor. "I’m confident the Republicans will allow the government to open and extend the ability of the county to pay its bills. And I'm going to do everything I can throughout the day to accomplish just this."
With the two sides stuck over whether to leave in place deep automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, Reid stressed that Democrats have agreed to keep the cuts in place into November and suggested they would be open to continuing them longer. He noted that was part of a continuing resolution to fund government already adopted on a bipartisan basis in the Senate but blocked in the House.
But another round of cuts is set to take effect in January. Democrats balked at a deal proposed by Senate Republicans that would have opened broader budget talks in coming months but potentially allowed those reductions to go forward in January.
"There was one conversation on the Sunday shows today that said we were trying to break the caps set in the budget act," Reid, referring to the 2011 Budget Control Act that put sequestration in motion. "We voted differently than that. We voted to extend the [continuing resolution] until November 15. Not a word about breaking caps."