With US shutdown more likely, the blame game begins

With US shutdown more likely, the blame game begins
Speaker of the House John Boehner (L) and US President Barack Obama (R).

WASHINGTON - A tumultuous US House votes late Saturday on a Republican plan that keeps government open but is unlikely to pass the Senate, leading lawmakers to bicker over who is responsible for a likely shutdown.

Barely two days before a shutdown deadline, Republican leaders set off a political firestorm when they announced that their stopgap federal spending bill also aims to delay implementation of President Barack Obama's health care law by one year.

The move prompted a sharp rebuke from the White House, which warned it was a step toward shuttering federal agencies once the fiscal year ends Monday night, and vowed to veto any such bill.

House Speaker John Boehner convened a rare Saturday session as Congress struggles to break a funding impasse that, if unresolved, would require hundreds of thousands of federal workers to stay home.

In addition, more than a million US military personnel would remain on duty - but with no pay.

Under pressure from his party's far-right conservative wing, Boehner doubled down on his caucus's bid to stop Obama's signature domestic achievement, the health care law, vowing to send a bill back to the Senate but with little time for legislative action to avoid a shutdown.

"We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it's up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown," Boehner said.

The House had earlier passed a temporary budget bill known as a continuing resolution that included a provision defunding so-called Obamacare altogether.

The Democratic-led Senate stripped that part out and sent a clean budget back to the House.

But instead of passing it, the House plans to amend the bill with a one-year delay of the health care law and repeal of an unpopular medical device tax.

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