President Obama on Spending Bill: No Time for Games, Need 'Grown Up' Discussions

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"Tea Party Republicans refuse to recognize that their budget is a simply appalling proposal," Reid said Monday. "They stomp their feet and call 'compromise' a dirty word, and insist on a budget that will hurt America rather than help it."

Republicans blame Democrats for the stalemate.

"It's become sadly evident to me, and to the American people, that the White House and Senate Democrats are just not serious yet about enacting real spending cuts," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement Monday. "If the government shuts down, it will be because Senate Democrats failed to do their job."

Government shutdowns are not a new phenomenon, though their effects vary depending on the country's economic and political situation.

There were six government shutdowns between 1977 and 1980, ranging from eight to 17 days, according to the Congressional Research Service. From 1981 to 1995, there were nine such occurrences, lasting three days each.

The longest government shutdown was during President Clinton's administration in 1995 and 1996, when it lasted for 21 days and paralyzed important government functions.

"It was very difficult. It was so much uncertainty. People just couldn't go anywhere. It created all kinds of havoc in the government. That was a very difficult, unfortunate period," said Gus Schumacher, who served as undersecretary of agriculture under Clinton. "You couldn't come to work. You had to stay home. You were not allowed to work because you weren't on the payroll."

ABC News' John Parkinson contributed to this report.

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