It's shutdown morning in Washington. Here's where we stand:
The Senate is scheduled to come back today at 2:00 p.m. At that point, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated, the Senate will reject the continuing resolution to fund the government passed by the House on Sunday morning. That resolution would delay Obamacare for one year and repeal the medical-device tax. If no measure to fund the government is agreed to by the House and Senate by tonight, the government will shut down.
Right now, the odds of a shutdown are looking pretty strong. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggested on Sunday that if/when the Senate kills the House's Sunday CR, House Republicans will attempt to pass a new continuing resolution that still contains "fundamental changes" to Obamacare. Those changes could include an individual-mandate delay, a medical-device tax repeal, or a measure (known as the Vitter amendment) that ends health care subsidies for members of Congress, their staffs, and members of the executive branch.
Such a bill—especially one that delays the mandate—would likely have little chance in the Democratic Senate, or under President Obama's pen. It could also face problems in the House, where powerful conservative groups like Heritage Action could make it difficult for Republicans to relent too much on Obamacare. That conservative pressure could prevent something like a clean CR—a resolution that funds the government and nothing else—from coming under serious consideration from House GOP leadership. That's unless they decide to break the so-called Hastert Rule—an informal edict that says that only a bill that has the support of a majority of the majority will be considered in the House.
As things stand right now, Republicans such as Ted Cruz are insisting that Democrats would be crazy not to accept their "compromise" budget plan that would just delay Obamacare by a year, as opposed to repealing or defunding it. Senate Democrats have made it clear that they don't view such a plan as a compromise, and are looking for a clean CR.
In short, with only hours to go until a shutdown, the two sides are very, very far apart.
This post will be updated constantly throughout the day.