There will be little if any progress toward ending the government shutdown this weekend, pushing the standoff that has idled more than 800,000 federal workers into its second week.
House Republicans plan several votes over the next two days — but none that would restore funds to the entire government. Instead, they will continue passing bills to pay for individual popular programs.
By Monday, the House will have voted to restore funds to natural disaster emergency recovery, nutritional assistance for children, national parks, medical research, the District of Columbia and veterans services. The body will also vote to pay members of the National Guard and Reserves. Many of those bills have already passed with support from House Democrats.
Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama say they want the government fully funded before any new negotiations can take place. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to reject the piecemeal approach, Obama is promising vetoes, and the administration’s Office of Management and Budget is brushing away the GOP approach.
“Consideration of appropriations bills in this fashion is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States Government,” the OMB said in a statement.
Republicans are equally dug in. On Friday morning, Republican House Speaker John Boehner met privately with members of the GOP conference and urged them to stay united on their strategy to resist calls from Democrats to pass a bill that funds the federal government.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is predicting that Democrats will cave under the GOP strategy.
“I firmly believe their position is untenable,” Cantor wrote in a memo obtained by Yahoo News. “Because their position is unsustainable and because we are willing to negotiate to find a reasonable resolution, I believe it is critical that we continue to engage and offer meaningful solutions for the American people."
"We are moving forward with our strategy,” New York Republican Rep. Peter King said after Friday's meeting. King, who has been a staunch opponent of his fellow Republicans refusal to fund the government unless key parts of the federal health care are delayed, then paused and corrected himself. "They are moving forward with their strategy.”
Republicans believe that by passing enough bills to fund crucial programs, they can put enough pressure on Democrats so they buckle. Democrats feel the same way.
Unfortunately for furloughed federal workers, that means there is no foreseeable end, at least right now, to the shutdown.