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US Government Hurtles Toward Shutdown

A shutdown of the U.S. government appears to be more likely, as congressional Democrats and Republicans show no signs of compromise on a spending bill.

If nothing is passed by midnight Monday, all but the most essential government services will start closing down. Tourists will find national parks and museums off limits. Anyone needing a passport or help with taxes would have to wait. More than 1 million civil servants may not get paid during the shutdown.

President Barack Obama's health care program is at the center of the standoff.

The Republican-controlled House has passed a spending bill delaying implementing the health care law while some Republicans want to totally defund it.

Any spending bill putting off or defunding health care is not likely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Both sides accuse the other of being unwilling to bend.

Democrats point out that "Obamacare" is the law of the land. It gives the poor and people without health insurance the chance to buy a low-cost federally subsidized policy so that families will not face financial ruin in case of an illness.

Republicans say the program is confusing and not ready. They also say that the law hurts the economy with more taxes and by forcing small businesses to buy coverage for their employees.

President Obama is calling on House Republicans to stop what he calls" political grandstanding'' and approve a spending bill without tying it to Obamacare.

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