Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a tea party favorite, said there would be no solution until Obama and Democrats who control the Senate agree to discuss problems with the nation's unfolding health care overhaul.
"The pigsty that is Washington, D.C., gets mud on a lot of people and the question is what are you going to do moving forward," Chaffetz, R-Utah, said on CBS' "This Morning."
Meanwhile, another financial showdown even more critical to the economy was looming. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress that unless lawmakers act in time, he will run out of money to pay the nation's bills by Oct. 17. Congress must periodically raise the limit on government borrowing to keep U.S. funds flowing, a once-routine matter that has become locked in battles over the federal budget deficit.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat, said Democrats would overwhelmingly accept a short-term spending measure to reopen the government and increase the nation's debt limit while other political differences are worked out. "That would be a responsible way to go," Hoyer told CNN.
At issue is the need to pass a temporary funding bill to keep the government open since the start of the new budget year on Tuesday.
Congress has passed more than 100 temporary funding bills since the last shutdown in 1996, virtually all of them without controversy. The streak was broken because conservative Republicans have held up the current measure in the longshot hope of derailing or delaying Obamacare, just as the health insurance exchanges at the heart of the law opened on Tuesday.
Some 800,000 federal workers — more than a third of the government's civilian employees — deemed nonessential were staying home again Wednesday in the first partial shutdown since the winter of 1995-96.
Even spy agencies felt the effects. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told Congress that roughly 70 percent of the intelligence workforce — including the CIA and National Security Agency — have been furloughed but he's trying to keep enough people to guard against potential threats.