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

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The second-ranking Democratic in the U.S. Senate said on Sunday that a deal to reopen the federal government and avoid a catastrophic default hinged on spending levels for the coming year, the length of a debt limit extension and the severity of automatic spending cuts that began earlier this year.

Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senate majority whip, said negotiations between Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate leader, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, were focused on these three issues and that he was hopeful a deal can be struck.

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