Nightly News   |  September 30, 2013

Countdown to the government shutdown

Many members of Congress found time to play the blame game, as the government remains on the brink of a shutdown. The new spending bill would keep the government operating while stopping aspects of the new healthcare law, but the Senate says that won’t work. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. it appears likely now that barring a big last-minute change, large portions of the federal government will shut down tonight at midnight eastern time . the first time in 17 years. this simplest way to put it is this -- the republican-controlled house is passing bills. the democratically controlled senate keeps reejecting. the bills would keep things operating while stopping aspect s of the new health care law . that's where we are. live pictures tonight show both ends of this drama in washington . this is in the hands of congress which now enjoys a 10% approval rating from the american people in the latest polls. this will be a long night. a lot of government services appear poised to go away, at least temporarily. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's chuck todd on the white house lawn. chuck, evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. 10% means it's just friends and family for members of congress. as of this hour it doesn't appear congress is closer to getting a deal to fund the government. republicans are working on a new spending bill. it includes more provisions to delay parts of the health care law and senate democrats and the president say any bill like that is dead on arrival . when this clock gets to zero, the government begins to shut down. yet this morning the house and senate in washington -speak, were in re se sesz.

>> reporter: still many play the blame game .

>> they need to act like adults.

>> the hard right is demanding a pound of flesh.

>> reporter: as for the budget bill house republicans passed one saturday night to keep things going through the middle of december. but it delayed the new health care law for a year.

>> we are not going to mess around with obamacare. no matter what they do. they've got to get a life.

>> reporter: when they finally got back to work after lunch today the senate quickly stripped the health care provisions out of the house bill and sent it back.

>> the 54-36.

>> reporter: behind the scenes some senators seem more concerned about how this is playing with the public.

>> i think we should stay here. people have said these things have happened before .

>> reporter: late today he did, blasting the republicans.

>> one faction of one party in one house of congress in one branch of government doesn't get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election.

>> reporter: a new poll shows republicans would bear more blame for a shutdown. 36% put the responsibility on the president. 46% on republicans. in washington today, some uh frustrated visitors said they rearranged things to cram in smithsonian visits before a shutdown.

>> reporter: who are you blaming?

>> me personally, i blame both sides.

>> reporter: if it shuts down, who are you blaming?

>> oh, man. i'd say everybody.

>> why is it last minute? we had how long to figure out a balanced budget . i don't get to do it at home.

>> it's partisan politics . the more you dig your heels in the less you get done. the less you get done the more angry you are. it's a vicious circle .

>> reporter: speaking of that vicious circle , brian, there will be back and forth tonight. if there is a glimmer of hope it's that members of congress were told, don't go far. there could be votes after midnight.

>> chuck todd at the white