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 HeitkampPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel Overnight Defense: House to begin work on defense policy bill | Panel to vote Monday on Pompeo | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump appeals decision blocking suspected combatant's transfer The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos 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 DonnellyGOP Senate candidates trade barbs in brutal Indiana primary Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo MORE (Ind.), Angus KingAngus Stanley KingPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo Overnight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes MORE (Maine) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenators chart path forward on election security bill GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes 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 McConnellGOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees 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 CorkerKorean peace talks pose new challenge for Trump GOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Corker: Charming North Korea into getting rid of nuclear weapons is not realistic MORE (R-Tenn.) told reporters Sunday afternoon that talks had come to a standstill between Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism 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.