Government Shutdown Looms Again Congress grapples with sequester as Washington budget war continues By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Aug 2, 2013 9:50 AM CDT 82 comments Comments Mitch McConnell, accompanied by GOP leaders, talk to reporters, Aug. 1, 2013, after defeating a $54 billion funding bill for transportation, housing and community development grants. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Newser) – Ready for another shutdown showdown? Well tough, because Congress seems to be barreling toward yet another irreconcilable budget stalemate, the Washington Post reports. Lawmakers need to reach a deal on the budget and, particularly, the sequester cuts by Oct. 1, which is just three weeks after they return from August recess. And two votes this week made it look supremely unlikely they'd be able to. In one, Republicans refused to ditch the sequester cuts, and in the other they refused to support them. First, Senate Republicans rejected a transportation bill co-written by Republican Susan Collins because it would have ignored the sequester's spending limits. "I truly don't know a path forward," Collins said. "This is so absurd." Then House Republicans canceled a vote on their own sequester-compliant transportation bill because it would have sacrificed too much. "What I fear is that we're going to again come to the edge of the cliff, and all of a sudden there's going to be these midnight meetings," said John McCain, one of eight Senate Republicans who's been meeting with President Obama to discuss the problem. He then joked, "It's always darkest before it's totally black."