US President Barack Obama has said he is "not at all resigned" to the prospect of government agencies shutting down for the first time in 17 years over a funding dispute.
The Senate has until midnight local time (5am UK time) to decide whether to accept a funding bill, and thereby prevent a temporary shutdown when the new fiscal year starts on Tuesday.
The bill - essentially a stopgap measure that would keep money flowing until mid-November - includes controversial amendments on healhcare added by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives.
Either the Senate can choose to accept it with amendments, or send a "clean" funding bill back to the House for further negotiation.
Both Democrats and Republicans have tried to pin blame on each other for a looming shutdown.
The Republican leader in the US House of Representatives Eric Cantor has said he does not support the bill passed by the Senate to avert steep tax rises and spending cuts.
He said he was concerned about a "lack of spending cuts in the bill" and that Republicans in the House are searching for a way forward.
Mr Cantor expressed his unhappiness with the measure to reporters as he left a closed-door meeting with fellow House Republicans.
Republican members of the US House of Representatives will meet at 1pm local time (1800 GMT) to discuss "a path forward" in the debate over the "fiscal cliff," a senior aide said.
Earlier today, the Senate voted in favour of a bipartisan bill to avert steep tax rises and spending cuts.
The meeting could help Republicans leaders decide when to begin consideration of the White House-backed measure, and a vote could come as soon as later in the day.
This is the fifth time in six elections that Republicans has failed to win the popular vote, and that raises questions for the party.
ITV News' International Editor Bill Neely reports from Boston:
The Republican candidate for the Senate in the state of Indiana has said that his comments about rape victims' right to abortion had been taken out of context.
Speaking at a debate last night, Richard Mourdock said that when women become pregnant as a result of rape “that’s something God intended.”
He clarified his remarks today saying he "absolutely abhors" violence against women, but that he doesn't believe rape constitutes grounds for an abortion because "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape ... it is something God intended to happen."
The Romney campaign has reiterated its support for Mourdock's candidacy but emphasised that Mitt Romney does not share his views on abortion.
A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign said the comments were indicative of the "extreme positions" espoused by "many Republicans who are running for office" including Mitt Romney.
Clint Eastwood revealed the idea of talking to an empty chair came to him after meeting America's most influential Roman Catholic bishop, reports the New York Times.
At least ten police officers have been hurt in trouble connected to a parade in North Belfast.
Violence broke out before a republican procession which drew loyalist protesters.
Missiles including stones and bottles were hurled at police.
Tensions have been brewing recently over problems near a Catholic church close to the parade.
Police continue to deal with disorder in the Carlisle Circus, Antrim Road and Clifton Street areas of North Belfast.
Missiles, including stones and bottles, were thrown at officers.
At least ten officers have been injured, three of whom have been taken to hospital.
North Belfast was the scene of serious rioting on July 12 when republicans attacked police following a loyal order parade through the Ardoyne flashpoint.
Republican Paul Ryan has admitted he did not complete a marathon in under three hours as he said in a nationally broadcast interview.
The US vice presidential hopeful said the information he had provided about his marathon time was inaccurate by over an hour.
He issued the statement ammending the record after Runner's World magazine discovered evidence that he had finished the marathon in just over four hours.
Mr Ryan told radio presenter Hugh Hewitt in August he had run a "two hour and fifty-something" marathon.
That is a speed of just under seven minutes per mile for the 26.2-mile course - exceptionally fast for amateur runners.
Mr Ryan admitted he ought to have rounded up his marathon time to four hours, rather than three.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made an unscheduled visit to Louisiana today to view damage from Hurricane Isaac.
Romney inspected the fallout from the storm that had originally stoked fears of a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans seven years ago.
Barack Obama's own stop in the region is scheduled for Monday.