Congress was flirting with a government shutdown heading into the weekend. If lawmakers did not approve a spending bill and President Barack Obama did not sign it into law by Dec. 19, the government would cease to provide funds for non-essential services in the United States.
A temporary stopgap measure that currently funds the government was set to expire this past weekend, and as of Dec. 16 lawmakers had yet to pass legislation on an extension budget. The last time the government shut down was in 1995.
Democrats have proposed a $1.27 trillion spending bill that would fund the government until Sept. 30, 2011. The legislation, which includes more than $1 billion to fund the new healthcare law and about $8 billion in earmarks, has faced staunch opposition from Republicans. Some Senate Republicans have threatened to stall the measure by forcing a floor reading of the 1,924-page bill.
According to FOX News, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has encouraged his members to reject the bill. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently Tweeted the top 10 earmarks in the spending bill in an effort to shed light on wasteful spending. He added that voters made it clear in the midterm elections that they are tired of business as usual in Washington.
"Are we tone deaf? Are we stricken with amnesia?" McCain said.