(CNN) – As some Republicans and Democrats begin to dig in before the next fiscal showdown, Sen. John McCain said Washington is "in for some very serious problems" and called on his colleagues in the GOP to tone down the warnings of a government shutdown.
"Republicans ought to understand if we shut down the government, Congress always gets blamed–rightly or wrongly–Congress gets blamed," the Arizona Republican said Monday on CNN's "New Day." "We've seen the movie before. It's just some of them weren't around at the time; I was."
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On the Senate side, some Republicans have threatened to vote against a short-term spending bill that continues to fund the government past October 1 if that bill includes money for Obamacare. If Congress fails to pass the bill, known as a continuing resolution, Washington faces a government shutdown.
But the real stalemate will likely happen in the GOP-controlled House. The president said he's "happy" to talk to House Speaker John Boehner about dealing with the so-called sequester, a large sum of forced spending cuts that took effect earlier this year.
"There are ways of doing this, it's just that they haven't been willing to negotiate in a serious way on that," he said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
Republicans typically lobby for spending cuts in budget measures, while Democrats tend to focus more on tax increases. This year, a core group of conservative Republicans in the House wants to tie the entire $986 billion annual operating budget to a provision to defund Obamacare. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, introduced such a bill last week.
McCain said there needs to be a "willingness to negotiate" on both sides of the aisle " because we all know we're not going to cut off social security checks" and payments to those in the military fighting overseas. "And for us to say you've got to repeal Obamacare in order to get that done, as Charles Krauthammer, that's a suicide note."
"I hope my colleagues in the House who believe that we need to shut down the government will understand that that's not what the American–they hate government, but they don't want it to stop functioning," McCain argued.
House Republican leaders are trying to find a compromise that pleases conservatives as well as Republicans opposed to using Obamacare as leverage. Last week, leaders postponed a vote on government funding legislation until this week, after many conservatives made it clear they wouldn't back it because it doesn't fully defund the health care law.
Republican leaders crafted a plan to pair a spending blueprint with a separate resolution barring the use of federal funds to implement new health care law.
It also would require the Senate to vote on defunding the controversial health care law before it could vote on the short-term spending bill.
But conservatives object to that strategy because the Democratic-led Senate would likely reject the resolution and simply pass the spending bill that includes money for new healthcare programs.
- CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.