The first cracks are appearing in the Tea Party's push to dismantle America's health law as three House politicians with ties to the movement said they would back a US spending deal that doesn't centre on ending Obamacare.
Republican Representatives Blake Farenthold of Texas, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Dennis Ross of Florida, all of whom identify with the Tea Party, said they would back an agreement to end the government shutdown and lift the debt ceiling if it included major revisions to US tax law, significant changes to Medicare and social security and other policy changes.
Democrats offer US budget deal
House Democrats present Republicans with a deal to end both the budget stalemate and the US government shutdown.
The partial government shutdown entered its sixth day since politicians failed to authorise spending before the October 1 start of the fiscal year. The budget stand-off started when Republicans insisted on choking off funding for President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, while the President has refused to negotiate.
''The President seems unwilling to give an inch on Obamacare, so, all right, where can we find other reforms?'' Mr Farenthold said on Saturday just after a vote on giving furloughed workers retroactive pay. ''If we can make the same or bigger difference doing something other than Obamacare, I don't see why we wouldn't do it.''
Other politicians backed by the Tea Party movement including Raul Labrador of Idaho a leading voice in the fight against Obamacare, said a change to the law ''has to be on the table. A one-year delay is still reasonable to ask for,'' Mr Labrador said.
Politicians tied to the Tea Party led a push last month to convince Republican House Speaker John Boehner to fight for major changes to Obamacare as part of the budget debate. That stalemate, which led to the first government shutdown since 1996, is now bleeding into a debate over the nation's US$16.7 trillion ($17.7 trillion) debt limit, which must be raised before October 17 to avoid a US default.
''We've tried a lot of things and used just about every arrow in our quiver against Obamacare,'' Mr Lamborn said. ''It has not been successful, so I think we do have to move on to the larger issues of the debt ceiling and the overall budget.''
Mr Farenthold, a conservative radio talk-show host when he won election in 2010, said the Obamacare battle was for ''another day.''
Mr Ross, ranked among the House's most conservative members by both the Club for Growth and the American Conservative Union, said he shifted his position because the shutdown had not resulted in changes to the Affordable Care Act. The shutdown could also hurt the party, he said.
''We've lost the CR battle,'' said Mr Ross, referring to the continuing resolution to authorise government spending. ''We need to move on and take whatever we can find in the debt limit.''