WASHINGTON -- The impasse in Congress that has shut much of the federal government was no closer to being resolved on Tuesday as the Senate turned down a proposal from House Republicans to enter negotiations.
Republicans remained firm in their insistence that Congressional Democrats and President Obama agree to significant rollbacks in the Affordable Care Act, which began open enrollment on Tuesday, even as most government operations ground to a halt.
Democrats said they would not be forced into chipping away at the health law as a condition of enacting a budget to keep the government running.
Speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama said he would not give in to unreasonable demands by "one faction, of one party, of one house of Congress in one branch of government."
"Congress generally has to stop governing by crisis," he added. "It is a drag on the economy. It is not worthy of this country."
He also said that with hundreds of thousands of federal employees being furloughed nationwide, many of them civilian defense workers, those workers, their families and the small local businesses that rely on their patronage would be hurt.
It took less than a half-hour for the Senate to dispose of the House proposal in a 54-to-46 party-line vote. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, who was a boxer in his younger years, swatted it down with a quick jab.
"The government is closed because of the irrationality of what's going on on the other side of the Capitol," Mr. Reid said.
House leaders are presenting to their rank and file a plan to bring to the floor spending bills to fund veterans' programs, the National Park Service and federally funded services in Washington. The idea is to ameliorate the programs most obviously affected by the shutdown, while pressing for negotiations on a broader reopening of the government tied to changes to Mr. Obama's health care law.
But that plan, like all the others that House Republicans have sent to the Senate, appears dead-on-arrival.
"Ted Cruz is going to pick his favorite federal agencies to open? Come on," said Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.
Mr. Cruz, the Texas Republican who has led the Republican charge against the Affordable Care Act in Congress, suggested a similar piecemeal budget approach to lessen the effects of a shutdown.
With tangible signs of the shutdown beginning to hit television and circulate online -- images of the Lincoln Memorial cordoned off in yellow police tape and tourists being turned away from the Statue of Liberty -- all sides were showing indications that pressure to strike a deal was getting hotter.
House Republican leaders staged a photo op in the Capitol, calling reporters and photographers into a gilded room overlooking the National Mall, where they sat down at a half-empty table. "The way to resolve our differences is to sit down and talk," said Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican. "And as you can see here, there's no one here on the other side of the table."
Republicans continued their efforts to shift blame for the shutdown to the Democrats, whom they accused of intentionally letting the clock run out so they could point fingers back at conservatives.
"Well, Democrat leaders in Congress finally have their prize -- a government shutdown that no one seems to want but them," said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader. "House Republicans worked late into the night this weekend to keep the government open. And Senate Democrats dragged their feet."
Mr. Reid interrupted him.
"My friend the Republican leader spoke as if George Orwell wrote his speech," he said. "This is '1984,' where up is down, down is up, east is west." Nobody, Mr. Reid continued, was more thrilled to have the government closed than the Tea Party. "We had a good day for the anarchists," he said. "Why? Because the government is closed."
The Republican leadership in both houses of Congress have accused their Democratic counterparts and Mr. Obama of failing to entertain even the smallest changes to the health care law, which they have said is deeply flawed and harmful to businesses.
But among the rank and file, more and more Republicans are saying they believe they have no cards left to play.
"We've called their bluff, and they didn't blink," said Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona. "At this point it would kind of strain logic to assume that going deeper into this when Republicans are likely to get the blame will benefit us more."
Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, said Republicans were running out of options. "In this case, we've got no leverage," he said. "They've got 100 percent of the leverage."
In the House, Representative Scott Rigell became the latest Republican to break ranks with his leadership, saying that it was time to pass a stand-alone budget bill. "We fought the good fight," he said.
With the ball in Mr. Boehner's court, Republicans were left wondering what his next move would be. The House still has the ability to pass a bill that finances the government without making any changes to the health care law. If Mr. Boehner put that on the floor, it would almost certainly pass.
But, under pressure from his most conservative members, he is not doing so for now.
"They're having a difficult time over there," said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, declining to say whether Mr. Boehner should bring the straight-up budget bill to a vote.
Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York, said in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday morning, "We could get this done in a matter of an hour as long as Speaker Boehner is willing to allow that to come to a vote."
Democrats have begun casting the debate over the budget as something much larger than the six weeks of funding that the current legislation would support. They have repeatedly said that the hard line they have taken is meant to bring an end to Washington's vicious cycle of governing by crisis.
"For one party, in one branch of Congress, to hold this country hostage in order to override that constitutional process -- disrupting the lives of federal workers and the American people who depend on their services -- is unconscionable," said Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington.
While much of the capital's attention on Tuesday was focused on the closing of federal office buildings and memorials and the furloughing of hundreds of thousands of employees, it was also the first day of enrollment in the exchanges that will become the backbone of the new health care system created under the 2010 law.
Conservatives used the media to seize on images that the online enrollment system was malfunctioning. "Surprise! Obamacare health care exchange Web sites don't work," said one aggregator of conservative news and commentary. On Fox News, a host of the morning show "Fox & Friends" used a laptop computer to try to contact an online representative for one of the government Web sites and complained that he had been waiting for almost an hour.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.