Government shutdown hours away, no agreement in sight - | WBTV Charlotte

House & Senate cannot agree on spending bill, government will shut down

The House of Representatives approved a stop-gap spending measure for the government, which would also defund Obamacare. The bill is expected to be rejected in the Senate. (Source: CNN) The House of Representatives approved a stop-gap spending measure for the government, which would also defund Obamacare. The bill is expected to be rejected in the Senate. (Source: CNN)
Speaker John Boehner speaks to President Barack Obama on the phone about funding for the government and Obamacare. (Source: Flickr) Speaker John Boehner speaks to President Barack Obama on the phone about funding for the government and Obamacare. (Source: Flickr)
The Senate rejected the House funding bill that would have delayed Obamacare for a year. (Source: CNN) The Senate rejected the House funding bill that would have delayed Obamacare for a year. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) – President Barack Obama has ordered the federal government to shut down after the Senate killed a third bill by the House of Representatives that would fund the government and avert a shutdown, but also call for compromises to Obamacare. 

House Republicans voted three times to either strip or delay funding of Obamacare for one year while voting to continue funding the government. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, voted each bill down, and sent a Senate version back to the House without the amendments.

After volleying bills between the House and Senate throughout Monday, Republicans called for a conference with Democratic leaders to negotiate, an idea Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shot down.

"We will not go to conference with a gun to our heads," he said.

Because of this stalemate between the two chambers of Congress, the government will likely shutdown at midnight.

Earlier in the evening, Republican Congressman Peter King attempted to lead a GOP revolt against his own party to try and fund the government and failed.

The challenge King lead against his own party only required 17 votes; the motion only received six.

King's motion would have funded the government with no conditions, something conservatives who are using the budget as leverage to defund the Affordable Care Act do not support.

"They were afraid this vote would not be looked upon as to keep the government open, but as a vote in favor of Obamacare," King said on CNN.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama reached out to congressional leaders in both parties on the phone, but according to the Associated Press, no breakthrough was reached on the stalemate.

In a news conference on Monday, Obama said a government shutdown will slow a recovering economy, but his healthcare plan will move forward despite efforts to defund it, including one proposal that would delay funding for one year.

"It will throw a wrench into the economy when it has shown real traction," he said during a news conference Monday. "An important part of the Affordable Care Act will take place no matter what Congress does. It is already funded, you can't shut it down."

Speaking shortly after the Senate rejected the House's bill, Obama urged the House of Representatives to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government running.

"Bottom line, I am willing to work with anyone of any party," he said.

The government will run out of money at midnight Monday, prompting furloughs of more than a third of government workers. Museums, such as the Smithsonian museums, and national parks will close. First-time homebuyers who are trying to get government-backed mortgages will face delays. Even military families will face delays in receiving pay checks.

Meanwhile, Social Security, Medicare, mail and public safety functions will continue despite the shutdown, Obama said.

Anticipating the shutdown, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memo on Sept. 17 for government agencies to determine which employees were considered essential, and which will be furloughed.

With the deadline looming, Obama said a shutdown does not have to happen.

"My hope and expectation is that, in the 11th hour once again, that Congress will choose to do the right thing, and that the House of Representatives in particular will do the right thing."

On Monday, the U.S. Senate rejected a funding bill passed by the House of Representatives that would defund Obamacare. The vote fell along party lines, 54 to 46.

"We're at the brink," said Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, "We're just hours away from a possible government shutdown."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, criticized Speaker John Boehner in harsh terms after the vote.

"I have a very simple message to John Boehner," he said. "Let the House vote. Stop trying to force a government shutdown. Let the House work its will ... all 435 members, not just the majority."

The amendments added by the House of Representatives would have delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and repeal a medical device tax. The healthcare exchanges for the ACA will go live Tuesday.

"The American people are worried about their jobs. They're worried about their incomes rising because they're all under pressure. The economy's not growing. Why is it not growing? One of the issues that's standing in the way is Obamacare," House Speaker John Boehner said just before the Senate voted. "It is time for the Senate to listen to the American people just like the House has listened to the American people."

The president and Democrat senators have said that defunding Obamacare is not an option.

"There's not a world leader if you took a poll who would say it would be responsible or consistent with America's leadership in the world for us not to pay our bills. We are the foundation of the world economy, and the world financial system and our currency is the reserve currency of the world," Obama said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, accused Reid of wanting a shutdown.

"Harry Reid is saying 'I won't talk to you, I won't compromise. If every bit of Obamacare isn't funded, I'm shutting down the federal government,'" Cruz told CNN. 

Cruz suggested funding critical areas "where there will be the most pain" through "continuing resolutions" before midnight to keep specific areas of government open.

According to a new CNN International poll, just 10 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing, an all-time low in a CNN poll. And 87 percent say they disapprove of the job federal lawmakers are doing, higher than it's ever been in CNN polling.

Congress has not passed an annual budget since 2009, instead passing stop-gap measures to keep the government running. The Budget Control Act of 2011, otherwise known as sequestration, implemented cuts in case a budget bill could not be agreed on. Those cuts went to effect on March 1, 2013, after another stop-gap measure delayed them by two months.

Should Congress and the president come to an agreement, the next financial crisis looms in a couple of weeks. Both houses have to agree whether or not to raise the debt ceiling on Oct. 17. If the debt limit is not raised, the U.S. would default its debts.

Obama spoke just seven hours before the federal government was set to shutdown for the first time in 17 years.

Since the budgeting process took effect in 1976, there have been a total of 17 separate government shutdowns.

The last one took place in December 1995, lasting 21 days.

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