The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Sunday said they had talked, but a resolution of the budget and debt standoff appeared far off as Congress closed for the day without a deal, dpa reported.
The White House stood its ground, issuing a statement saying US President Barack Obama continued to insist on clean passage of a short-term budget and clean lifting of the borrowing limit - without Republican strings attached - before he would negotiate with Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he had had "substantial" talks with Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell over the weekend. "Our discussions were substantial, I'm optimistic about a positive conclusion of the issues before this country this day," Reid told the Senate.
But McConnell said in a statement that he backed a bipartisan Senate plan already rejected by Reid, which would raise the debt ceiling until January 31 and fund the government through to the end of March 2014, in exchange for minor changes to the federal health care law.
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