After tense negotiations between President Barack Obama and House Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took charge in attempt to end the crises, although a conversation Sunday afternoon failed to break the stalemate.
“I’m optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion to the issues before this country today,” Reid said as the Senate wrapped up a rare Sunday session.
“The two cagy negotiators are at loggerheads over Democratic demands to undo or change the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs that the GOP see as crucial to reducing the nation’s deficit,” The Huffington Post reports.
McConnell suggested that the proposal from a bipartisan group of 12 senators, led by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. is the way out of the situation as it that would re-open the government and fund it for six months while raising the debt limit through Jan. 31.
“It’s time for Democrat leaders to take ‘yes’ for an answer,” McConnell said in a statement.
However, six Democrats in the group and a spokesman for Collins told reporters that while negotiations continued this weekend, there was no agreement.
What started as a Republican effort to stop functioning Obamacare by depriving it of funds and blocking a budget agreement has morphed into a stalemate on other issues.
“I don’t even understand, at this moment, what this is about,” said Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
“It’s not about Obamacare anymore. Is it about reforming Medicare and Social Security? That’s not clear. Is it about how much money we’re spending? That’s not even clear. It feels like we’re boxing shadows.”
“Republicans want to do it with entitlement cuts,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “Democrats want to do it with a mix of mandatory cuts, some entitlements and revenues. And so how do you overcome that dilemma? We’re not going to overcome it in the next day or two.”
“I think the Democrats are on the verge of being one tick too cute as they see the House possibly in disarray — they now are overreaching, and I think that what we’ve got to do is get this back in the middle of the road, act like adults,” supposed Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Collins, whose plan is being thoroughly examined by both sides, said Sunday that both Democrats and Republicans continue to offer ideas and say they want to be part of the group working to reopen the government and address the debt ceiling before Thursday’s deadline.
“We’re going to keep working, offering our suggestions to the leadership on both sides of the aisle in an attempt to be constructive and bring this impasse to an end. Surely we owe that to the American people,” the politician said in one of her interviews.