The standoff that partially shut down the US government deepened on Tuesday as the Democratic-led Senate rejected the latest House Republican effort to negotiate on a spending Bill stalled by conservative efforts to derail the healthcare overhaul.
In a 54-46 party-line vote, the Senate turned aside a House request to name negotiators to a conference to resolve differences. Senate majority leader Harry Reid said he would not negotiate as long as Republicans were holding up a straightforward spending Bill to keep the government operating.
About 800,000 federal workers are being forced off the job in the first government shutdown in 17 years, suspending most nonessential services.
It wasn’t clear how long the standoff would last, but there were no signs of compromise. The Senate vote marked the fourth time in this fight that it has rejected House Republican efforts.
President Barack Obama, who has vowed not to allow Republicans to cripple his healthcare law, readied a midday statement to the nation as Democrats and Republicans maintained a blame-each-other duel.
The stalemate pits Democrats against a core of conservative activists who have mounted a campaign to seize the must-do budget measure in an effort to dismantle the 2010 healthcare reform, intended to provide coverage for the millions of uninsured Americans.