House GOP seeks conference with Senate Dems on shutdown

House Republican leaders late Monday night sought a conference committee with Senate Democrats, who responded that they would only accept a funding resolution that leaves ObamaCare untouched.

The GOP proposal to meet came after days of sending bills back and forth to each other with no effect. The House has sent the Senate proposals to undermine ObamaCare, while the Senate continues to insist on a spending resolution that doesn't touch ObamaCare.

A conference committee would give a members of both chambers to meet face to face to decide how to move forward on a spending bill. But the House request to meet will be based on the latest GOP bill, which delays the individual health insurance mandate under ObamaCare, language hotly opposed by Senate Democrats.

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As a result, it's unclear how quickly the two chambers could agree to anything once they start meeting, which means a partial shutdown of non-essential government functions now seems certain after midnight — at least for a few hours, and possibly longer.

The Rules Committee met shortly before 11 p.m. Monday, and quickly approved a rule allowing a vote on the request to meet with the Senate. That vote, which ended at 11:10 p.m., set up a House vote that was expected shortly thereafter.

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said he hopes Senate Democrats will agree to meet, but did not say he was sure Democrats would agree.

"It is my hope that Senator Reid will see that the right hand of an offer will be extended to him," Sessions said. "The Majority Leader and the Speaker are both prepared to act immediately."

Democrats reacted angrily to the latest GOP effort. Sessions said it takes "great skill" to avoid government shutdowns, to which ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) to say that skill is lacking in the House.

"I would indeed take some skill, and apparently there isn't any here," she said.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said angrily that the House GOP approach has been to replace Democracy with a "mob-ocracy," and again said Republicans have allowed conservative Republicans to take over the party.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said the process essentially confirms a shutdown of the government for an unknown length of time.

— This story was updated at 11:10 p.m. to reflect the Rules Committee vote.