House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., noted that many House Democrats supported back pay for federal workers but opposed reopening other selected parts of the government.
The standoff is playing out as an even bigger financial crisis looms. The Treasury Department says the federal government will reach the limit of its authority to borrow money on Oct. 17. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit, the U.S. will default on its obligations for the first time, triggering what many economists say would be an economic catastrophe.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and tea party darling, said the threat of a first-ever default is the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the White House. Cruz told CNN on Sunday that any agreement to allow the government to borrow more money to pay its bills must include a “significant” plan to reduce future spending, no new taxes and “mitigating the harms from Obamacare.”
Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Julie Pace contributed to this report.