Several Republican senators said Sunday that if Democrats want a deal to re-open the federal government, now on its 13th day of closure, they should stop insisting a budget include more spending.
Democratic rejected a proposal Saturday, in part, because it kept in place the automatic spending cuts that went into effect earlier this year for too long. Another round of those cuts -- dubbed the sequester -- are expected in January.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucy on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley said it's "the one thing" he could not accept as part of any deal.
Sequester is the law of the land, he said. "If we exceed that, it's real big step in the wrong direction."
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. said House Republicans initially overreached in their proposal by trying to repeal or delay the new health care law, President Barack Obama signature first-term achievement, but that now Senate Democrats are doing the same thing with the sequester.
"They now are overreaching," he said on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace. "We're at status quo right now. The last 24 hours have not been good.
“What we need to do is get this back to the middle of the road, act like adults,” he said. “Nothing is going to happen, I don’t think, if it’s about breaking those spending caps.”
A slew of U.S. senators made appearances on the talk shows Sunday morning as all eyes turned their chamber to find a solution to re-open the government and avoid default.
Senators of both parties believe Congress will find a compromise in the coming days before Thursday, when the government is expected to start running out of ways to pay its debts.
Action moved to the Senate after talks between the White House and the Republican-led House of Representatives broke down Saturday.
The future of any compromise shifted to the Senate, largely to two veteran negotiators, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. They, along with Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., met Saturday for the first time to discuss a way forward.
But Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. said on This Week with George Stephanopoulos that he thinks a proposal should originate in the House.
"I'm worried a deal will come out of the Senate that a majority of Republicans in the House can't support," he said. "I'm not going to vote for any plan that can't get a majority of Republicans in the House."
On Saturday, the Senate rejected a proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to re-open the government immediately and providing six months of funding. The debt limit would be extended through January 31.
Collins would have delayed the medical device tax which helps pay for the health care law, a plan that has in the past won bipartisan support. She had proposed giving agencies more flexibility to deal with automatic spending cuts, but many Democrats were opposed.
Collins said on CNN that she's still pushing for her bill. "I''m still hopeful we sparked a dialogue," she said. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. said on CNN that she agreed it provided "a positive framework going forward."