Reid: Dems not trying to break budget caps

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him 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 PaulRand PaulCurtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Glimmer of hope in bipartisan criminal justice reform effort Trump barrage stuns McConnell and his allies MORE (R-Ky.), a close ally of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary 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 GrahamGraham: Trump's Charlottesville rhetoric 'dividing Americans, not healing them' OPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct Supporting 'Dreamers' is our civic and moral duty 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 CollinsOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act isn’t over 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 MurrayPatty MurrayCBO to release report Tuesday on ending ObamaCare insurer payments OPINION | Progressives, now's your chance to secure healthcare for all McConnell open to bipartisan deal on health insurance payments 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 Richard DurbinDick DurbinOPINION | DACA helps people achieve the American dream, don't take it away Immigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP 'Dreamers' deadline looms for Trump 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.