WASHINGTON — A deal to end the government shutdown and raise the government’s debt limit by Oct. 17 to avoid default appears unlikely, two Republican Senators said on Sunday.
Senators are seeking to craft an agreement after the House failed to do so. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC’s This Week that a Democratic proposal to increase spending beyond limits set by automatic budget cuts — known as the sequester — cannot be supported by Republicans.
He doesn’t anticipate a deal by the Oct. 17 deadline.
“I don’t see one,” Graham said. “If you break spending caps you’re not going to get any Republicans in the Senate.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ken., agreed with Graham, saying the Democratic proposal to increase beyond sequester limits is “a real big step in the wrong direction.”
“Now they want a spending bill that increases spending and dramatically will increase the debt,” Paul said on CNN’s State of the Union. “It’s a non-starter.”
Some top Democrats were just as pessimistic about a deal.
David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to Obama, said the nation is dangerously close to default. “I think the notion that somehow this is going to be easily solved this week is completely false,” Plouffe said on This Week.
Plouffe put the odds of a deal by Thursday at “no better than 50/50. And so I think the country needs to prepare that this could go on for a while.”
It wasn’t all doom and gloom on the Sunday talk shows. Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said a compromise was possible.
Collins, whose proposal to end the standoff was rejected Saturday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said on CNN that talks continue between Republican and Democrats.
“We’re continuing to talk,” Collins said. “And I’m still hopeful that at least we sparked a dialog that did not exist before we put out a plan.”
Klobuchar, also appearing on CNN, said the Collins’ plan has jumpstarted negotiations.
“I see this as a positive framework going forward,” Klobuchar said. “And we need that right now.”
Collins’ plan would extend the debt ceiling to January and reopen the government through March, as well as delaying an unpopular tax on medical devices under the new health care law.