Democratic centrists pursue deal

Five rank-and-file Democrats, most of them centrists, are continuing negotiations on a bipartisan fiscal deal in case talks between Senate leaders fall apart.

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“We have been involved in productive, bipartisan discussions with Sen. [Susan] Collins [R-Maine] and other Republican senators, but we do not support the proposal in its current form,” they wrote in a joint statement. “There are negotiations but there is no agreement.”

The statement came in response to Republican complaints earlier in the day that Democrats had walked away from the negotiating table.

Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDems sour on shutdown tactics Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight Scott faces GOP headwinds ahead of potential Senate bid MORE (N.D.), Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (Ark.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySenate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight Winners and losers from the government shutdown Live coverage: Government shutdown stretches into second day MORE (Ind.), Angus KingAngus Stanley KingSchumer comes under fire over funding deal Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight 2020 Democrats vote against Schumer deal MORE (Maine) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharCongress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight 2020 Democrats vote against Schumer deal MORE (Minn.) issued it.

Heitkamp, Pryor and Donnelly are three of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats. King is an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: If there's no wall, there's no DACA fix Schumer: Democrats 'cut the best deal we could' Dems sour on shutdown tactics MORE (R-Ky.) released a statement earlier in the day criticizing Democrats for not embracing a six-point proposal from Collins to open the government and raise the debt limit.


“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,” he said.

“It’s time for Democrat leaders to take ‘yes’ for an answer,” he added.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight Winners and losers from the government shutdown Shutdown leaves federal employees in the lurch MORE (R-Tenn.) told reporters Sunday afternoon that talks had come to a standstill between Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) and McConnell, but expressed hope they would resume.

“They did [stall] over the last 24 hours but hopefully they’re going to get back on today,” he said.

Corker said negotiations bogged down after the White House pushed Reid and Senate Democrats to attempt to lift the budget levels in any deal to reopen the government.

“It appeared the White House may have gotten a little involved with Senate leaders, Democratic leadership, to pull back away from the Budget Control Act,” he said.

Reid and McConnell spoke by phone Sunday afternoon.