After a back-and-forth of various versions of the same spending bill, Republican leaders in the U.S. House decided no more votes would be held this evening. Come midnight, the federal government will shut down.
Instead of holding another vote on the continuing resolution to fund the government, the House has decided to call for a conference committee with the Senate to hash out the differences in the bills. In this process, both houses will appoint conferees who will meet to, in theory, arrive at compromise legislation that has a better chance of passing both houses. It is not clear what would be gained from a conference since Republicans want concessions to implementation of the Affordable Care Act while Democrats refuse to tie the ACA to any spending bill.
As expected, the Senate Democratic leader, Sen. Harry Reid, D. Nev., has rejected the idea of going to conference over the CR. With less than an hour to go before a shutdown, it is not clear how or if a shutdown can be avoided.
See previous posts for the latest information on how the shutdown will affect scientists. And stay tuned to the Policy Blotter for further information about the debate over funding the federal government and the fallout for scientists receiving funding from federal science agencies.