The Democratic-led Senate on Monday blocked the $3 billion stimulus package that Republican leaders in the House are expected to pass in coming days.
The Senate’s move was a major setback for the GOP, which has made the package its main priority in a year that has seen two failed attempts at a stimulus package.
Republicans in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, will now have to come up with a $2.1 trillion package to help stabilize the economy.
That bill has been blocked in the past by the GOP.
Republicans said in a statement Monday that they were not going to allow a government shutdown to derail a successful effort to enact a major tax overhaul that would give them a huge boost in revenues.
The White House on Monday urged Republicans to come to a deal to avert a government-wide shutdown, saying the government would reopen Monday.
“The President is hopeful that with additional bipartisan agreement, the House can pass a budget resolution and then the Senate can pass its own budget resolution,” White House spokesman Kevin Lewis said in an email.
The House on Saturday passed a $1.1 billion stimulus bill that included a $3 trillion package.
The Senate approved that bill in a 51-50 party-line vote, and both chambers are expected on Monday to pass a $4.2 trillion stimulus bill.
President Barack Obama said he was “heartbroken” to see the Senate’s block of the stimulus bill as “a crushing blow to the middle class.”
The House passed the stimulus package on a party-lines vote last month after Republicans blocked a similar package in 2013.
The president has repeatedly said he wants to get the economy back on track, but has warned that a shutdown could lead to a spike in unemployment that could hurt the economy even more.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had said in January that a government default could lead a government to shut down.
But in a news conference Monday, Pelosi said the White House has “no plans” to try to prevent a shutdown.
“There is no plan to prevent this from happening,” she said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters on Monday that he was not surprised by the Senate vote.
“If it comes to the House, we’re going to do everything we can to try and come up and have a government conference, try to come together and work on a deal,” he said.
The deal to pass the $4 trillion stimulus would be the biggest spending package in nearly a decade for Democrats, which had hoped to make a deal with Republicans to avert another government shutdown.
But the deal that passed the House last month was far more generous than the one Republicans in the chamber could have reached with a deal that included billions in cuts to food stamps and other programs that Republicans have said they would reject.
“It’s a very significant development that Republicans are not willing to negotiate on their spending bills,” said Scott Winship, a Democratic strategist who focuses on the House.