Obama driving possible government shutdown, GOP lawmakers say

(CBS News) President Obama's the one spearheading the march toward a government shutdown, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argued Sunday on "Face the Nation," hours after the Republican-controlled House passed a funding bill that Senate Democrats and the White House have insisted is a "non-starter."

"The president's the one saying, 'I will shut down government if you don't give me everything I want on Obamacare,'" Paul said. "That, to me, is the president being intransigent and being unwilling to compromise."

It's a never-ending back-and-forth: After rejecting a budget proposal passed Friday by the Senate, the lower chamber during the middle of the night Saturday countered with a measure that would fund the government through mid-December but would also impose a one-year delay on key parts of the Affordable Care Act.

With the Senate slated to reconvene Monday afternoon, lawmakers will have mere hours to concoct a working budget deal before the government shuts down at the stroke of midnight and hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed.

"I've said all along it's not a good idea to shut down government... but I also think that it's not a good idea to give the president 100 percent of what he wants on 'Obamacare' without compromise," Paul said. "Our new compromise is not getting rid of his signature achievement, but delaying it to make sure that it doesn't totally destroy the insurance market in our country."

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who authored the amendment to delay healthcare, tried to make her case later on the show that it's a "reasonable request," citing "bipartisan support for the delay." She agreed with Paul that it's the president driving toward a government shutdown.

"We would love to have a president sit down and say, 'okay, there are some problems with Obamacare,' and we have continued to bring forward ideas for healthcare reform," she said. "But we've been met with this attitude of, 'no negotiation,' 'don't want to sit down,'' 'don't want to talk about this,' 'it's my way or the highway.'"

Not so, argued Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who serves with Blackburn on the House Budget Committee: "The far-right tea party wing of the caucus" is playing out "a calculated strategy to drive the country to the cliff and then say, 'Give us what we want... or we're going to shut down the government and default on our debts.'"

The strategy is a "total hoax," Van Hollen said, pointing out that the Republican budget actually kept major parts of "Obamacare." "Their budget would not balance if they hadn't kept the Medicare savings. And every penny of the revenues brought in by Obamacare - including the amount of revenue brought in by the medical device tax - is what they've got in their budget."

Paul suggested a last-minute conference committee could prevent a shutdown, but Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said past precedent proves Republicans will only come to the table as it pertains to delaying healthcare: "We have been trying for more than six months to get the Senate Republicans to agree to a conference committee on the budget. They refuse a conference committee when it comes to our budget."

Durbin said he's "willing to look at" a measure in the House bill that repeals a tax on medical devices - "but not with a gun to my head, not with the prospect of shutting down the government." He predicted the government will shut down, but laid out a possible path forward.

"We've sent, from the Senate, a clean [continuing resolution], no strings attached - we didn't demand the immigration bill pass or anything like that - a clean C.R. to keep the government in business and not hurt the economy," he said. "Ultimately, that's what we should do.

"And I hope when it comes to the debt ceiling, we'll do the same thing: extend the debt ceiling without endangering the economy," Durbin said. "Then, if the Republicans want to sit down and go into serious, good faith negotiations, over any aspect of government, that's how it should take place."

  • Lindsey Boerma On Twitter»

    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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