- (Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
House Republicans on Monday made their fifth offer to Democrats on a bill to fund the government. President Barack Obama and Democrats rejected the offer, saying they will only accept a bill with no concessions on modifying the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
Republicans first passed a bill that would have defunded the ACA. Their second offer was a bill that would have delayed the ACA for one year. Their third attempt was a bill that would have delayed the individual mandate, repealed the medical device tax and revoked the premium supports for members of Congress and their staff.
Fourth, Speaker of the House John Boehner offered to appoint a conference committee, consisting of members of both parties from both houses, to meet to hash out their differences. The Senate voted Tuesday, 54 to 46, to reject that proposal.
With each proposal, Democratic leaders have rejected the offers and said they will not compromise on legislation to fund the government.
For their fifth proposal, Republicans offered to pass a series of smaller funding bills, with each bill funding a different part of the government. Three of these bills, for veterans, national parks and the District of Columbia, were put up for a vote on Tuesday under suspension of the rules, which means it required a two-thirds vote, and a significant number of Democrats, to pass them. All three measures failed, though, when only 33, 22 and 34 Democrats, respectively, voted in favor.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia, pleaded with her fellow Democrats, almost to the point of tears, to pass the D.C. funding bill, according to Roll Call.
"What would you do if your local budget was here? Would you mention it in the same breath with the HHS budget or the Labor Department budget or the VA's budget?" she said. "Don't dare compare us to your appropriations. I understand the resentment on my side to what is being done here, but carry out your resentment without putting us in a position of a thing."
On PBS' "The Newshour" Tuesday, Stuart Rothenberg, of The Rothenberg Political Report, argued that Democrats and Obama are unwilling to compromise because they have little incentive to do so. With polls showing that the public mostly blames the Republicans for the government shutdown, the longer the shutdown, the greater they benefit.
"The Democrats don't feel like they need to blink," he said. "The White House and congressional Democrats think that they have the upper hand. They look at the surveys. They look at the polls. They think, the Republicans are going to get blamed. Why should they blink?"
Republicans, on the other hand, have put themselves in a position where they cannot give in without any concessions from the Democrats, Rothenberg added.
Republicans "have painted themselves into a corner. ... They have been telling their base for months they are not going to blink, and if they walk away with nothing out of this, I think that really creates a lot of disappointment and Republicans have to worry about turnout in the midterm [election]," he said.