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GOP unity frays as shutdown looms

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Their unity fraying, House Republicans bent but did not blink Monday in their demand for changes in the nation's health care overhaul as the price for preventing the first partial government shutdown in 17 years.

"We're at the brink," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., moments after the Senate voted 54-46 to reject the latest GOP attempt to tie government financing to delays in "Obamacare."

The stock market dropped on fears that political gridlock between the White House and a tea party-heavy Republican party would prevail.

As lawmakers squabbled, President Barack Obama urged them to "act responsibly and do what's right for the American people." At the White House, he said he was willing to discuss long-term budget issues with members of Congress, and expected to do soon. But, he added, "The only way to do that is for everybody to sit down in good faith without threatening to harm women and veterans and children with a government shutdown."

In a fast-paced series of events, the Senate voted 54-46 to reject a House-passed measure that would have kept the government open while delaying implementation of the health care law for a year and permanently repealing a medical device tax that helps finance it.


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