30 Sep 2013

US heads for government shutdown

4:36 am on 30 September 2013

The United States House of Representatives has moved the federal government closer to a shutdown with its latest vote.

It has rejected the Senate's supposed final offer for funding federal agencies beyond Monday.

In a mostly partisan vote, the House defied a White House veto threat and added a provision repealing a medical device tax, intended to help fund President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law.

And Reuters reports that in a sign that lawmakers might be resigned to a government shutdown beginning Tuesday, the House unanimously approved a bill to keep paying US soldiers in the event the government runs out of money to run many programs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reiterated on Saturday that the House bill would be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

President Obama also threatened to veto any bill that delays his healthcare restructuring.

There is a slight chance the two sides could reach a funding deal before the federal government's fiscal year ends at midnight on Monday. Congress could also act at any time to end the impasse if a shutdown did occur.

But the bitterness of the House debate on Saturday night that spilled into early Sunday did not bode well for prospects of a compromise.