Drawn-out fights over spending bills are nothing new for Congress. But that's where the fights used to stay: in Congress. The rest of the country didn't have to pay much attention to countdown clocks and all this drama.
"In the '60s and '70s down until 1980, it was not taken that seriously at all," says Charles Tiefer, a former legal adviser to the House of Representatives, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School. In the old days, he says, when lawmakers reached a budget stalemate, the federal workforce just went about its business.
The federal government has moved closer to the brink of a shutdown, as the House of Representatives approved a temporary funding bill Saturday night that the Senate and White House say has no chance of becoming law.
The House bill would avert the budget deadline at midnight Monday by funding the U.S. government into December. But it also includes a one-year delay of Obamacare — a provision that Democrats and some Republicans say has no place in a stopgap funding bill.
Shortly after midnight Sunday morning, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would keep the government's lights on. It would also delay the Affordable Care Act for a year, making the legislation a non-starter for Senate Democrats and the president.
The ball is back in the Senate's court now, with fewer than 40 hours until a government shutdown begins.
The House bill does three things. First, it's a temporary measure to keep government operations funded through the middle of December.
The Republican governor has been turning up in other states, touting the wonders of Texas and promising business owners they'll find lower taxes and more manageable regulation there.
"It does help get the word out to business leaders that may be frustrated," says David Carney, a longtime consultant to Perry. "Going in person can get literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of free media coverage."
Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 8:52 am
Updated at 12:24 a.m. ET Sunday
The House voted early Sunday to tie government funding to a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare, sending the dispute back to the Senate, where it is certain to get a frosty reception. The House measure also repeals the Affordable Care Act's tax on medical devices.