HARRISONBURG -- With every tick of the clock, the country gets closer and closer to a government shutdown. Yet Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill still have very different ideas of what needs to be done.
"Those who pin their hopes on a functioning Congress seem to be playing a losing game these days," said political analyst Dr. Steve Longenecker, a Bridgewater College professor.
An early-morning vote in the House of Representatives did not move Congress any closer to keeping the federal government open.
"The most conservative House Republicans seem very content with the situation," Dr. Longenecker said. "The situation is deadlocked and they feel pretty good about that. And on the other hand, the White House has refused to negotiate with what they consider to be hostage takers."
The House bill - which would fund the government while delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act - passed 231 to 192.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was among those voting in favor of the bill.
In a statement he said: "I urge Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership to accept this compromise. However if the Senate refuses to work with the House, Members of the Armed Forces should not be subject to the Senate's political ploys."
Meanwhile, staffers for Virginia's senators referred WHSV to statements released earlier this week.
"[T]here's a right way and a wrong way to do business," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in a statement on Friday. "We should have policy debates in the normal way and not let them intrude on basic responsibilities like operating government and honoring our fiscal obligations."
Senator Mark Warner said in a statement: "We've wasted a week on political shenanigans while every minute we wait brings us closer to a government shutdown.... We cannot allow ideological issues to stop us from funding the basic operations of the government, and we should be working to get the nation's fiscal house in order."
"We're seeing deadlock," Dr. Longenecker said. "And that's symptomatic of a split electorate, of a deeply divided nation."
Dr. Longenecker said at this point he does expect to see a government shutdown, but that it is hard to predict how long - or how short - it would last.
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