Plans to give Irish workers thousands of surplus US visas every year look set to fail.
Ireland has campaigned to be added to the E-3 visa programme which is currently available to Australians.
Australia currently only takes up about 5,000 of the 10,000 visas allocated.
A bill to allow Ireland access to the remaining visas needed US Senate clearance but has failed by one vote.
Niall O'Dowd from IrishCentral.com, says it now seems highly unlikely Irish people will now get access to the scheme.
"We had to get the bill passed by unanimous consent which means 100 senators, we got to 99 and then for some reason we've never been quite able to figure out Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas put a hold on the bill and prevented it going through," said Mr O'Dowd.
"Unless it happens to get through while the Senate is still discussing the issue of the government shutdown, we're not going to get it through."