|By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press|
A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation's health care law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to reopen the government piecemeal but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House.
National parks like Yellowstone and
Even as many government agencies closed their doors, health insurance exchanges that are at the core of President
"Shutting down our government doesn't accomplish their stated goal," Obama said of his Republican opponents at a
"None of us want to be in a shutdown. And we're here to say to the Senate Democrats, 'Come and talk to us,'" House Majority Leader
Late Tuesday, House Republicans sought passage of legislation aimed at reopening small slices of the government. The bills covered the national parks, the
The move presented Democrats with politically challenging votes but they rejected the idea, saying it was unfair to pick winners and losers as federal employees worked without a guarantee of getting paid and the effects of the partial shutdown rippled through the country and the economy. The
Since the measures were brought before the House under expedited procedures requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, House Democrats scuttled them, despite an impassioned plea by Democratic D.C. Delegate
"I must support this piecemeal approach," Norton said. "What would you do if your local budget was here?"
But other Democrats said Republicans shouldn't be permitted to choose which agencies should open and which remain shut.
"This piecemeal approach will only prolong a shutdown," Rep.
Republicans said there could be more votes Wednesday, perhaps to allow the
Republicans also said the House may vote anew on the three measures that failed Tuesday, this time under normal rules requiring a simple majority to pass.
Republicans hoped such votes would create pressure on Democrats to drop their insistence that they won't negotiate on the spending bill or an even more important subsequent measure, required in a couple of weeks or so, to increase the government's borrowing limit.
There were suggestions from leaders in both parties that the shutdown could last for weeks and grow to encompass the measure to increase the debt limit. "This is now all together," Sen.
"It's untenable not to negotiate,"
Democrats have "all the leverage and we've got none," Sen.
"The shutdown is hurting my district — including the military and the hardworking men and women who have been furloughed due to the defense sequester," he said.
But that was far from the majority view among House Republicans, where tea party-aligned lawmakers prevailed more than a week ago on a reluctant leadership to link federal funding legislation to the health care law. In fact, some conservatives fretted the
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