Reid: Dems not trying to break budget caps

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE (D-Nev.) denied on Sunday that Democrats are trying to reverse the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration as part of a deal to reopen the government.

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Senate Republicans said Sunday that talks to fund the government and raise the debt limit have stalled because of Democratic demands to erase sequestration.

Reid denied the claim in a short speech on the Senate floor.

“There was one conversation on one of the Sunday shows today that said we were trying to break the caps set in the budget act,” he said. “Any talk about breaking the caps is not anything that came from us.”

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (R-Ky.), a close ally of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Democrats want to break the caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

“Now they want a spending bill that increases spending and dramatically will increase the debt,” he said. “It’s a non-starter.”

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.) warned on ABC’s “This Week” that Republicans would block any fiscal deal that raised budget levels above $967 billion for fiscal year 2014.

“If you break the spending caps, you're not get any Republicans in the Senate,” he said.

Reid countered that every Senate Democrat voted for a stopgap funding government until Nov. 15 set at the House GOP funding level.

“We voted to extend the [continuing resolution] until Nov. 15, not a word about breaking the caps,” he said. “We’re happy to go forward with the CR, as we’ve already voted for in this body."

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (R-Maine) offered a plan last week that would fund the government for six months at an annualized rate of $986 billion. But that number would be subject to sequestration and conform to the $967 billion cap implemented by the Budget Control Act.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE (D-Wash.) told Collins on the Saturday floor Saturday that her proposal was unacceptable because it locked in sequestration.

McConnell said in a statement on Sunday that it is time for Democratic leaders to take “yes” for an answer and return to the negotiating table to consider the Collins plan.

“There is a bipartisan plan in place that has the support of Democrat and Republican Senators. It would reopen the government, prevent a default, provide the opportunity for additional budget negotiations around Washington’s long-term debt, and maintain the commitment that Congress made to reduce Washington spending through the Budget Control Act—the law of the land,” McConnell said.

“It does all this while maintaining our commitments to reduce spending, cutting an Obamacare tax and improving anti-fraud provisions in the law. It’s time for Democrat leaders to take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGun proposal picks up GOP support Durbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (Ill.) suggested to reporters Saturday that a deal could hinge on the budget number.

“It has to get down to this budget number,” he said.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide, however, pushed back against the notion that Reid is trying to lift the budget caps in the private talks with McConnell.

“The suggestion that Democrats insist on breaking the budget caps is false and belied by the facts,” the aide said. “Democrats all voted for the Senate-passed short-term CR at current sequester levels.

“We stand by that bill and would happily accept it or something similar as a way out of the current impasse, and leave the debate over 2014 levels for another time,” the aide added.

This report was originally published at 1:59 p.m. and last updated at 2:23 p.m.