Seems that Democrats lack of ability to budge on budget issues to keep Washington working is now the fault of the Tea Party.

The Capitol Hill rhetoric reached new levels of ugliness Tuesday as negotiations over some semblance of a federal budget gave way to finger-pointing, with Democrats blaming Tea Party freshmen for a potential government shutdown and Republicans calling those claims a fantasy.

Over the past few days, Democrats have pounded the argument that Congress would have been able to work out a budget deal long ago if not for the extreme demands of Tea Party-aligned lawmakers.

Congress has until April 8, the expiration date for the current short-term budget, to craft either another stopgap or a more substantive budget that lasts through the end of fiscal 2011, or face a partial Washington shutdown.

Hopes were relatively high last week that such a coming-together could happen, but lawmakers on both sides made clear Tuesday they've made scant progress.

"Unfortunately, there are a number of new people in the Congress who think that a compromise is a sellout," House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday. He said there's still room for compromise, but accused the "perfectionist caucus" -- his latest term for the Tea Partiers -- of dragging down the Republican leadership. Hoyer said he put the odds of a shutdown at "five or six" on a scale of 10.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., also took to the floor Tuesday to accuse the Tea Party of scuttling negotiations over a spending package.