WASHINGTON -- With the Senate facing another budget deadline, Republicans and Democrats appeared to be in a deadlock Wednesday. The key sticking point was spending cuts.
GOP lawmakers said the size of the nation's deficit was appalling.
"The news yesterday was that we ran a $223 billion deficit last month," Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "That's the largest deficit on a monthly basis in the history of our country."
Yet, the budget bill Republicans want passed cuts $61 billion, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it was too extreme and would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs.
"We're fighting for the middle class," Reid said. "We're fighting for the poor people. We're fighting for poor little Head Start kids, who they are saying 'You've had enough help. You don't need anymore help.'"
The Democrats want to pass a bill they said will cut just $6.5 billion. However, the Congressional Budget Office said it will actually cut only $4.7 billion. Republicans said the government spends more than that every day on just the deficit.
"So the most they appear to be willing to offer at this stage is one day's worth of deficit for the balance of this fiscal year," McConnell said.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., put some of the blame for the deadlock on President Barack Obama for failing to lead or even offer a serious spending proposal.
"The debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations and right now that's not happening," Manchin said.
The crux of the matter is the two sides are far apart -- and they need to cut a deal by next Friday to prevent a government shutdown.