Optimism fades ahead of government shutdown deadline

Washington (CBS) –With less than two days before much of the federal government shuts down due to disputes over the budget and Obamacare, Democrats and Republicans continued trading blows on Sunday, offering precious little cause for optimism that Congress will be able to steer its way out of the cul-de-sac before pandemonium arrives on Tuesday.

The message from both parties: The other side’s demands are unreasonable, and they will consequently shoulder the blame if the government shuts down.

On Saturday, the House passed a spending bill that would keep the government funded through December 15 but delay or undo several key provisions of Obamacare, sending its latest proposal back to the Senate.

The Senate, which had rejected a previous attempt by the House to jettison the health care law, is likely to strip the latest anti-Obamacare language from the spending bill and send it back to the House, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“Tomorrow, the Senate will come in session,” he said. “The House position, which is basically the same one they sent us the last time, is going to be rejected again. And we’re going to face the prospect of the government shutting down come midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning, and that’s sad.”

At that point, House leaders will face another choice: Do they assent to the Senate’s “clean” spending bill, devoid of provisions gutting Obamacare, or do they volley yet another proposal back to the Senate just hours before the government shuts down?

The number three House Republican, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., appeared to embrace the latter option in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” promising a fresh round of fiscal ping-pong before any agreement can be reached.

“I think the House will get back together, and in enough time, send another provision not to shut the government down, but to fund it, and it will have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at it again,” he said.

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