The budget row that could shut down the US government hangs on differences over social policy, the top Democrat in Congress said on Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Republican opposition to a major abortion provider tapping federal funds would put women’s health services at risk.
Planned Parenthood receives government grants to provide non-abortion services for Americans on low incomes.
“Republicans want to shut down the government because they think there’s nothing more important than keeping women from getting cancer screenings,” Reid told fellow lawmakers.
“This is indefensible and everyone should be outraged.”
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the disagreements were not over policy and that his party simply wanted deeper cuts.
“There’s only one reason that we do not have an agreement as yet and that issue is spending,” he told reporters.
US law says the government must shutdown if no budget has been agreed.
Non-essential federal agencies such as America’s National Parks will be forced to close.
The last government shutdown happened in 1996 during the first Clinton administration.