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 HeitkampHeidi HeitkampRegulatory experts push Senate leaders for regulatory reform Why governors hold power in the battle for GOP healthcare votes Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (N.D.), Mark PryorMark 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 DonnellyJoe DonnellyIndiana GOP rep: Likely primary opponent 'lying about my family' Dem senator to sell stock in family company that uses outsourced labor Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (Ind.), Angus KingAngus KingTrump ally LePage may run for Senate in Maine Senate confirms Trump's 'regulatory czar' Election hacking fears turn heat on Homeland Security MORE (Maine) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDem senator: Trump acting like he's still on ‘The Apprentice’ The next battle in the fight against human trafficking Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump 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 McConnellMitch McConnellParliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | How Democrats stole the nation's lower federal courts Flight restrictions signal possible August vacation for Trump 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 CorkerBob CorkerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Iran nuclear deal still under threat — US must keep its end of the bargain Senate heads to new healthcare vote with no clear plan MORE (R-Tenn.) told reporters Sunday afternoon that talks had come to a standstill between Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West 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.