The US government looked all but certain to enter a partial shutdown on Sunday as House Republicans and Senate Democrats held to starkly different courses on funding.
The Democratic-majority Senate planned another procedural vote on a stop-gap bill to fund the government through November 17, which has been moving forward with broad bipartisan support, which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has rejected so far.
House Republican lawmakers on Friday blocked their own party's stopgap bill, known as a "continuing resolution" or CR. That bill included multiple conservative policy additions that Democrats opposed, and had no chance of winning the Senate support it would need to become law.
Infighting among Republicans who control the House by a 221-212 margin has pushed the United States to the brink of its fourth partial shutdown in a decade, as the chamber has been unable to pass legislation that would keep the government open beyond the October 1 start of the fiscal year.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees will lack the funding to do their jobs if the two chambers do not send a spending bill for Democratic President Joe Biden to sign into law by 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on Sunday.
Federal agencies have already drawn up detailed plans that spell out what services must continue, like airport screening and border patrols, and what must shut down, like scientific research and nutrition aid to 7 million poor mothers.
Most of the government's 4 million-plus employees would not get paid, whether they were working or not.
House Republicans emerging from a closed-door party meeting on Saturday said they expected to vote for a measure that would ensure that members of the military, border security and the Federal Aviation Administration were paid during the shutdown. Those would only take effect if the Senate passed it and Biden signed it into law.
"We will vote to keep our troops paid and fully operational," said Representative Darrell Issa.
Some hardline Republicans said a shutdown was worth it to achieve their goals.
"I fear the majority of the conference is willing to do anything to avoid the discomfort of a potential government shutdown," Representative Bob Good told reporters. "If we don't have the willingness to say 'no' and the resolve to say 'no,' the Senate and the White House will not accept any spending cuts." (Reuters)