Why Are These Guys Smiling?

The Senate is scheduled to convene Monday afternoon, just hours before the deadline.

Updated: Sun., Sept. 29, 9:30 p.m. EDT: With just hours to spare before the deadline of a partial government shutdown, the Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday afternoon. A deal appeared elusive as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed that Democrats would kill a measure approved early Sunday by House Republicans to block President Barack Obama’s health care law as a condition of federal funding. The bill also seeks to repeal a tax on medical devices.

Congress was closed, but Sunday was a day of great showmanship as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle took to the airwaves to argue their case and hurl blame at each other. 

“The House position, which is basically the same one they sent us the last time, is going to be rejected again,” Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, the chamber’s second-ranking Democrat, said today on CBS’ Face the Nation, according to Bloomberg News. Asked if he thought a government shutdown would occur, he said, “I’m afraid I do.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) weighed in on NBC’s Meet the Press, USA Today reports.

“The American people overwhelmingly reject Obamacare,” Cruz said. “They understand it’s not working. The only people who aren’t listening to the argument are the career politicians in Washington.” 

Updated: Sun., Sept. 29, 12:22 a.m. EDT: The federal government inched closer toward a shutdown Sunday after House Republicans voted 231-192 to block implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law as a condition for funding, MSNBC reports.

Updated: Sat., Sept. 28, 9:03 p.m. EDT: President Barack Obama and House Republicans traded barbs during tense negotiations on Saturday as a government shutdown hovered menacingly over a nation that still bears deep wounds from an intense economic downturn.

House Republicans demanded a one-year delay in the implementation of major parts of the new law and permanent repeal of a tax on medical devices, the Associated Press reports.

The White House, in turn, threatened to veto the measure while Democratic senators pledged its defeat even before it cleared the House.