The United States is bracing for a partial shutdown of the federal government unless Congress acts to avert it, the White House said Monday.
The federal fiscal year ends at midnight Monday and all funding for non-essential services will end.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats appear far from reaching a budget deal to prevent the first federal shutdown since January 1996.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a budget bill Sunday that would fund the government until Dec. 15, but the legislation would delay implementation of President Barack Obama's landmark Affordable Care Act, a provision the White House and Democrats consider unacceptable.
The Senate, which is under Democratic control, plans to meet Monday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the House bill would not be approved by the upper house of Congress.
The Senate, however, is expected to approve a House bill that would keep paying the armed forces regardless of whether a partial shutdown of the federal government occurs.
Obama, for his part, has made it clear that he will not allow Republicans to use the health care reform law as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations.
Some 46 percent of Americans, according to a CNN poll released Monday, said they would blame Republicans for a government shutdown, while 36 percent said Obama was to blame and 13 percent blamed both parties for the budget stalemate.
Six of 10 respondents said a shutdown of the federal government would harm the country. EFE