Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says lawmakers are at an impasse over
how to keep the federal government funded past September 30, when
current funding expires.
Reid spoke on Capitol Hill Thursday, a day after the
Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives defeated a bill that
would have funded federal government operations past that date.
Reid, a Democrat, said he does not know what Republicans now plan to do
and suggested they would be to blame if the government shuts down.
Leading House Republicans had called for passage of the temporary
spending measure, which would have funded the government through
November 18. They said the bill was in line with cuts to government
spending agreed to by Congress and U.S. President Barack Obama in August
to avert a default on the nation's debt.
some Republican lawmakers - mostly supporters of the Tea Party movement
- wanted deeper cuts than those agreed upon and joined in the vote to
defeat the bill. Most Democrats voted against the temporary measure,
angered by a provision that said federal funding for disaster relief
must be offset by cuts in government spending elsewhere.
Lawmakers from both the House and Senate are scheduled to be in recess
next week. If Congress does not pass a temporary spending bill by
September 30, there will be a partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
Several Democrats who voted against the bill Wednesday listed a number
of natural disasters that have affected the United States in recent
weeks, including wildfires in Texas, a hurricane, and tropical storms
that triggered widespread flooding along the U.S. East Coast.