House Republicans tried a fourth different option late Monday, proposing to enter into official spending negotiations with Senate Democrats over a stopgap year-end spending bill, but it, like the three earlier proposals, was immediately rejected by Democrats who said there will be no talks.
With just an hour to go before Congress crossed the midnight deadline that would trigger a shutdown, and with GOP unity beginning to fray, Republicans settled on the strategy as a way to try to fight into Tuesday.
But Senate Democrats, who have refused to talk throughout the spending fight, warned they'd defeat the official request for negotiations, just as they defeated three previous plans that would have made dents in the health care law.
"We will not go to conference with a gun to our head. The first thing the House has to do is pass a clean CR," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, using Washington-speak for a "continuing resolution," or a bill to extend funding for a short time.
Democrats said they've been prepared to sit down and talk about a big spending and tax deal that would last for all of fiscal year 2014, but said they wouldn't do it with a shutdown looming.
The impasse left Congress poised to slip into the first government shutdown in 17 years.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.