US shutdown talks continue amid Republican discord
By Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro, ReutersWASHINGTON--A trio of Tea Party-backed U.S. senators threatening to stall a bill to fund the U.S. government ran into a wall of resistance Monday from top Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
September 25, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
In statements issued Monday evening, McConnell and the second-ranking Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, made it clear that they would not support the tactics of freshman Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco Rubio, which would have increased the odds of a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
The move, while highlighting growing rifts among Republicans, did not eliminate the possibility of a shutdown, however. Indeed, all signs on Monday still pointed to a frantic last-minute showdown that will determine whether or not the U.S. government stays open next week as a result of Republican efforts to scuttle “Obamacare,” U.S. President Barack Obama's health care law.
Heightening the tension, and the pressure on Republicans, the Pentagon issued a warning about the consequences of a shutdown, neither the first nor the last such announcement expected from federal agencies over the next few days.
Congressional authorization for the government to spend money runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, unless Congress passes a “continuing resolution” (CR) to keep the government running.
On Friday, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed and sent to the Senate a measure that would make continued funding of the government contingent on defunding Obamacare, which is designed to provide insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
The bill passed on a mostly partisan vote of 230-189.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to strip out the Obamacare provision and send the funding bill back to the House, but it's taking its time.