Senate Democrat says budget deal hinges on spending levels, length of debt limit extension


WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The second-ranking Democraticin the U.S. Senate said on Sunday that a deal to reopen thefederal government and avoid a catastrophic default hinged onspending levels for the coming year, the length of a debt limitextension and the severity of automatic spending cuts that beganearlier this year.

Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senate majority whip, saidnegotiations between Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate leader,and Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, were focusedon these three issues and that he was hopeful a deal can bestruck.

Durbin, speaking to reporters after making remarks on theSenate floor, said Democrats want a debt limit extension untilMarch or April 2014, so the debate over whether the governmentcan pay its bills does not hang over the holiday season.

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