Policy: Budgets & Deficits

House Republicans and Senate Democrats blame each other for empty Capitol on eve of shutdown

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Obamacare,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown,House Republicans

The Republican-led House and Democratic Senate on Sunday blamed the each other for a government shutdown set to happen at midnight Monday if Congress cannot agree to at least a temporary spending measure before then.

House Speaker John Boehner called on the Senate to reconvene Sunday to vote on a government funding measure the House passed early Sunday morning. But the Capitol is quiet later Sunday, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sticking to his pledge to ignore any House bill that tampers with the new health insurance reform law.

The House passed a new Republican proposal in the wee hours of Sunday morning that would fund the government until Dec. 15. But the proposal includes a one-year delay in the implementation of Obamacare. The House also unanimously passed a measure to keep the military funded in case of a government shutdown.

The Senate, however, won't reconvene until Monday and it has no votes scheduled.

“If the Senate stalls until Monday afternoon instead of working today, it would be an act of breathtaking arrogance by the Senate Democratic leadership," Boehner, R-Ky., said in a statement Sunday. "They will be deliberately bringing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown for the sake of raising taxes on seniors’ pacemakers and children’s hearing aids and plowing ahead with the train wreck that is the president’s health care law. The American people will not stand for it."

Republicans are hoping to shift the blame for the high-stakes gridlock on the Senate so that if a deal isn't reached by Monday, the GOP won't be blamed in the upcoming elections for shuttering government operations, as has happened with past government spending fights.

But Democrats are fighting just as hard to portray the GOP as the cause of the looming shutdown and party leaders are urging House Republicans to reconvene and pass a spending resolution that does not delay the health care law implementation so that a shutdown can be avoided.

“We are on the eve of a shutdown and there is only one way to prevent it," Sen Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the number-three Senate Democrat said on Sunday. "For the House to pass a clean continuing resolution. All the other games and brinksmanship by Speaker Boehner are not aimed at avoiding a shutdown, but are merely a subterfuge to lift the blame from his shoulders, and they will not succeed.”

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