By Andrew Taylor
WASHINGTON (AP) ‐ Lawmakers locked in a political stare-down Wednesday were buffeted by rising anger from across the nation about a partial government shutdown that ruined vacations, sapped businesses and closed military cemeteries as far away as France. Some on Capitol Hill ominously suggested the impasse might last for weeks, but a few Republicans seemed ready to blink.
Republican Rep. Peter King of New York accused tea party-backed lawmakers of trying to "hijack the party" and said he senses that a growing number of rank-and-file House Republicans ‐ perhaps as many as a hundred ‐ are tired of the shutdown that began Tuesday morning.
GOP lawmakers will be in meetings Wednesday to look for a way out, King said.
But GOP leaders and tea party-backed members seemed determined to press on.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a tea party favorite, said there would be no solution until President Barack 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."
Funding for much of the U.S. government was halted after Republicans hitched a routine spending bill to their effort to kill or delay the health care law they call "Obamacare." The president accuses them of holding the government hostage.
Republicans pivoted to a strategy of trying to reopen more popular parts of the government piecemeal, but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House.
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.