WASHINGTON - Lawmakers have one final day to try to prevent the first US government shutdown in 17 years, but a deal appeared remote Monday as congressional leaders showed little intent to compromise.
With Congress going into crunch sessions ahead of an 11:59 pm (0359 GMT Tuesday) deadline, a House Republican leader offered a glimmer of hope when he hinted that his party could offer a new plan that might pass muster in the Democratic-held Senate.
"I think the House will get back together 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 again," number three House Republican Kevin McCarthy told Fox News Sunday.
Congress must pass a stopgap funding measure before the new fiscal year begins Tuesday or much of the US federal government will close down.
The procedure became dramatically more complicated when Republicans linked the budget legislation to an attempt to thwart President Barack Obama's health care law.
The impasse is already affecting global markets: In Asian trading on Monday oil prices tumbled, markets slumped and the Japanese yen jumped in value while the dollar weakened, mostly due to fears that a budget deal will not be reached before a shutdown.
After the Senate passed a straightforward spending bill on Friday, the House countered after hours of debate Saturday by attaching amendments seeking a one-year delay to so-called Obamacare, as well as repeal of a medical device tax which helps fund the law.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who refused to call the chamber into session over the weekend despite the rapidly approaching deadline, warned before the vote that such a measure would be dead on arrival.
The White House also sharply rebuked the move, and warned that the president would veto it even if the Senate did approve it.