In Washington, some Republicans conceded privately they might bear the brunt of any public anger over the shutdown — and seemed resigned to an eventual surrender in their latest bruising struggle with Obama.
Democrats have "all the leverage and we've got none," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said sardonically his party was following a "Ted Cruz-lemmings strategy" — a reference to the senator who is a prime proponent of action against the health care overhaul — and Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia said it was time to pass legislation reopening the government without any health care impediments. "The shutdown is hurting my district — including the military and the hard-working men and women who have been furloughed due to the defense sequester," he said.
But that was far from the majority view among House Republicans, where tea party-aligned lawmakers prevailed more than a week ago on a reluctant leadership to link federal funding legislation to "Obamacare." In fact, some conservatives fretted the GOP had already given in too much.
Gone is the Republican demand for a full defunding of the health care law as the price for essential federal funding. Gone, too, are the demands for a one-year delay in the law, a permanent repeal of a medical device tax and a provision making it harder for women to obtain contraceptive coverage.
In place of those items, Republicans now seek a one-year-delay in the requirement for individuals to purchase insurance, and they want a separate provision that would dramatically raise the cost of health care for the president, vice president, members of Congress and thousands of aides.
Boehner has declined to say whether he would permit a vote on a stand-alone spending bill to reopen the government, stripped of health care provisions, though Democrats and Obama continued to call on him to do so. "He's afraid it will pass," said Durbin.
Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, the most prominent advocate of the "Defund Obamacare" movement, said the Senate should follow the House's lead and quickly reopen programs for veterans and the parks. Asked why it was appropriate to do so without demanding changes in the health care law, he offered no answer.
"None of us want to be in a shutdown. And we're here to say to the Senate Democrats, 'Come and talk to us,'" said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., as GOP lawmakers called for negotiations with the Senate on a compromise.
It was an offer that Senate Democrats chose to refuse, saying there was nothing to negotiate until Republicans agreed to reopen the federal establishment.
"The government is closed because of the irrationality of what's going on on the other side of the Capitol," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In addition to "closed" signs and barricades springing up at the Lincoln Memorial and other tourist attractions, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency were virtually shuttered, and Obama said veterans centers would be shut down.
Government workers classified as essential, such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors, remained on the job.
So, too, members of the military, whose pay was exempted from the shutdown in separate legislation Obama signed late Monday. Employees whose work is financed through fees, including those who issue passports and visas, also continued to work. The self-funded Postal Service remained in operation, and officials said the government will continue to pay Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid fees to doctors on time.
Associated Press writers Lauran Neergaard, Alan Fram, Josh Lederman, Nedra Pickler, Seth Borenstein and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.
1) Enter His Email Address 2) See Hidden Pics & Social Profiles Now!