Republicans plot unified position on shutdown crisis
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US House of Representatives held a rare Saturday session seeking to avoid a looming government shutdown, as Republican leaders struggled to stake out a position palatable to their divided members.
Congress now has just 60 hours to strike a deal that funds government beyond the current fiscal year, which ends Monday at 11.59pm. If members fail, federal agencies will shut their doors and order hundreds of thousands of employees to stay home, while more than a million soldiers will remain on duty without pay.
Lawmakers remain bitterly divided over the path forward. The Republican-led House passed a stopgap budget earlier this month, but amid intense pressure from a die-hard conservative faction, it included a provision that strips funding from President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement on health care.
The Senate on Friday stripped out the controversial language that defunds so-called Obamacare, sending a clean temporary budget bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), back to the House.