- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2013

The House and Senate spent the past few days involved in the legislative equivalent of hot potato, trying to be the ones not holding up a stopgap spending bill when government funding expires at midnight Monday.

As of late Sunday, the Senate appeared to have the upper hand, planning to return with just enough time Monday afternoon to shoot down the latest House Republican proposals and send a bill back to the lower chamber, hoping Republicans will have no choice but to pass the Senate bill or be blamed for a shutdown.

Indeed, the Senate didn’t bother to convene Sunday, leaving House Republicans to stage a rally on the steps outside the chamber to accuse Democrats of stalling to try to force Republicans into capitulating.

SEE ALSO: Shutdown deadline not set in stone

“The only evidence you need, folks, is the fact that they’re not here,” said Rep. Tim Griffin, Arkansas Republican, joining his colleagues on the steps in protest. “This is the old football strategy — when you get to where you want to be in a football game, you run out the clock.”

Both sides say they don’t want a shutdown and accuse the other of trying to manufacture one.

Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas joins other House Republicans on the Senate side of the Capitol to call on Democrats to "come back to work." The Senate is scheduled to reconvene Monday to vote on a House bill that ties government funding to Obamacare. (Associated Press Photographs)
Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas joins other House Republicans on the Senate ... more >

Time is short, though. Funding for basic government operations expires at midnight Monday, and unless Congress and President Obama agree on a bill to extend money into the next fiscal year, the government will shut down soon afterward.

SEE ALSO: ‘Nonessential’ label makes federal workers uncomfortable

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, kept quiet Sunday, and Mr. Obama, who went golfing as the House was working Saturday, also stayed quiet at the White House.

But other Democrats filled the void, vowing to hold firm against Republican demands.

“We are on the eve of a shutdown, and there is only one way to prevent it: for the House to pass a clean continuing resolution,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Sunday.

He accused House Republicans of worrying more about avoiding blame than trying to keep the government open.

Early Sunday, House Republicans powered three proposals through their chamber, with varying degrees of Democratic support, and sent them to the Senate.

Two of the proposals fund the government through Dec. 15. One of them also repeals an Obamacare medical device tax affecting equipment such as wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. The other would impose a one-year halt on the Affordable Care Act.

The final Republican proposal is a guarantee that military troops would continue receiving paychecks in the event of a government shutdown.

Senate Democrats on Friday passed a bill with no strings on Obamacare, then adjourned until Monday afternoon.

Democrats signaled Sunday that they likely would accept the House bill that continues to pay troops in the event of a shutdown but would reject the other two bills.

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