President Barack Obama delivers a message to House Republicans Monday as he speaks to the media at the White House about a possible government shutdown.
As the clock ticked down Monday to a government shutdown, top legislators from both sides of the aisle used the opportunity to take pot shots at the political impasse that has divided Washington.
Many lawmakers showed flashes of irritation and anger, lobbing barbs at the opposition over the deadlock that threatens to grind scores of key federal services to a halt unless Congress agrees on a measure that will fund the government.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., put the blame squarely on congressional Republicans, saying that GOP leaders had paralyzed Washington by trying to add an Obamacare-delaying provision to government funding legislation.
"If John Boehner blocks this, he will be forcing a government shutdown and it will be a Republican shutdown. That's pure and simple," Reid said Monday afternoon alongside other leading Democratic lawmakers.
He added bluntly: "We are not going to mess around with Obamacare. They've got to get a life."
We are not going to be bullied. We've done everything we can to avoid a shutdown, and we've done it reasonably.— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) September 30, 2013
Boehner, for his part, said Monday that the GOP's advocating for a one-year delay of Obamacare's individual mandate and the elimination of the exemption for members of Congress was "a matter of fairness" for the American people.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaking after the Senate rejected the House spending bill, accused the Obama administration of providing "special treatment" to "big business," "special interests" and "members of Congress."
Speaker of the House John Boehner and the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speak on the next step the House will take after the Senate rejected its spending bill.
Other legislators weighed in on the ongoing crisis in more starkly partisan terms.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who drew national attention last week when he delivered a 21-hour marathon speech against Obamacare, sharply criticized Reid and the Democrats, accusing them of staging the shutdown as a political maneuver.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Cruz said: "Harry Reid wants a shutdown because, sadly, Democrats are putting politics above the needs of the American people."
Cruz added: "Democrats need to listen to the people and start working for the millions of Americans who are losing their jobs, wages and healthcare benefits because of Obamacare."
He later called Obamacare a "disastrous, train wreck of a law."
And in a display of increasing annoyance, President Barack Obama slammed Republicans in Congress, scolding them for acting at the behest of Tea Party conservatives and accusing GOP leaders of trying to "save face after making some impossible promises to the extreme right wing of their party."
“One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn't get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election," he said during a statement at the White House shortly before 5 p.m. ET.
NBC News' Carrie Dann, Michael O'Brien, Frank Thorp, Michael O'Brien, Ali Weinberg and Luke Russert contributed to this report.
President Barack Obama speaks to the media at the White House as a government shutdown deadline looms over Washington.