No Government shutdown.
Posted 09 April 2011 - 03:16 AM
Washington (CNN) -- Budget negotiators are working on a proposal to keep the federal government open for another week while Democratic and Republican leaders put together a broader deal, a senior Republican close to the talks told CNN Friday night.
Disputes over controversial topics like abortion -- an apparent sticking point in the talks -- have been "essentially resolved," the source said.
The source warned, however, that any deal is still contingent on an agreement on the final spending numbers.
A Democratic source told CNN earlier in the evening that negotiators were considering a three-day funding extension that would not include any language tied to the abortion issue.
Live blog: Latest developments on a possible shutdown
Regardless of the specifics, both the House of Representatives and the Senate need to pass a new federal funding measure by midnight to prevent a partial government shutdown.
The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama could sign another short-term funding measure if negotiations on a broader package covering the rest of the fiscal year were making progress.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Friday that he would agree to a short-term measure if there is a deal already in place on that package.
Earlier in the day, administration officials said they were optimistic about the possibility of reaching an 11th-hour budget deal with the Republicans.
CNNMoney: The costs of a shutdown
There is a "good chance" that Obama will speak publicly about the crisis Friday night, a White House source said.
The sudden burst of optimism came as top negotiators raced against the clock to cobble together a deal. If they fail, a shutdown will lead to furloughs for 800,000 government workers. A range of government services would halt, though essential services such as law enforcement would continue to function.
Obama discussed the issue over the phone during the day with Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, according to aides to both the president and the speaker. Anticipating a shutdown, Obama also canceled a planned weekend trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, with his family.
As the talks moved ahead, however, leading politicians from both sides of the aisle continued to trade accusations about the cause of the standoff.
What would be shut down?
Democrats said Republicans were hung up on abortion and other issues related to women's health. Republicans insisted that the size of spending reductions was still the main cause of the dispute.
"This all deals with women's health. Everything (else) has been resolved. Everything," Reid said Friday morning. "It's an ideological battle. It has nothing to do with fiscal integrity in this country."
"If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is ridiculous," he later added.
Republicans have been pushing to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood during the budget talks. They have also been trying to get federal dollars now set aside for family planning and women's health turned into block grants for states, according to a Democratic source.
Federal workers nervously eye clock
Such a move -- opposed by Democrats -- would give governors and state legislatures more ability to cut funding for services opposed by conservatives.
"It's an opportunity for the right wing in the House (of Representatives) to really sock it to women," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.
For his part, Boehner repeatedly disputed Reid's assertion that abortion is the key sticking point.
"There's only one reason that we do not have an agreement as yet, and that issue is spending," the speaker said. "We're close to a resolution on policy issues, but I think the American people deserve to know: When will the White House and when will Senate Democrats get serious about cutting spending?"
How shutdown would affect Americans
"Most of the policy issues have been dealt with," he later added. But "when (Republicans) say we're serious about cutting spending, we're damn serious about it."
Boehner was surrounded by Republican women when he met with reporters -- an apparent reaction to Democratic claims.
Boehner: No deal yet
Shutdown fears spawn long passport lines
What Americans want to cut from budget
Washington to feel burden of shutdown
"We're facing an economic disaster," said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Illinois. "We have to cut the spending. (It's) not about some other issue that those ... on the other side keep talking about."
Reid insisted that negotiators have already agreed on a $38 billion cut from current spending levels for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
Official: Military won't lose pay if a shutdown is resolved quickly
"The speaker is the one who came up with the number," Reid insisted. "We didn't invent it."
GOP sources familiar with the talks confirmed Reid's assertion that the two sides had settled on a total of $38 billion, but sources in both parties cautioned that the total could still be raised or lowered a bit.
The seven-day and three-day extensions being considered Friday night would be less controversial than the one passed by the GOP-controlled House on Thursday. That one-week measure, which passed 247-181 in a largely party-line vote, would fund the Pentagon for the remainder of the current fiscal year. But it also would slash federal spending by another $12 billion and included so-called "policy riders" that stipulate political and ideological restrictions related to abortion and other issues.
Reid declared the short-term extension a "nonstarter," and the White House promised a veto if it reached Obama's desk.
CNNMoney: FDA warns shutdown would limit operations
As a result, pressure continued to ratchet up on negotiators. Repeated meetings between Obama and congressional leaders over the past two days have failed to break the impasse.
Publicly, the president said the mechanism of shutting down government operations had started in case a deal proves elusive, which he said would hurt federal workers, people who rely on government services and the nation's economic recovery.
"For us to go backwards because Washington couldn't get its act together is unacceptable," Obama said.
Top aides on both sides of the aisle have seemed increasingly resigned to the prospect of a shutdown. Congressional staffers began receiving their furlough notices Thursday afternoon. Employees deemed "essential" during a shutdown would still be able to work; those considered "nonessential" would not.
iReport: Looming government shutdown
Congressmen would continue to be paid in the event of a shutdown.
Earlier this year, the House passed a bill that included $61 billion in cuts from current spending levels, but the measure was rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate. Two previous extensions of the government spending resolution have included $10 billion in cuts.
Republicans, under pressure from the conservative Tea Party movement to reduce the size of government, blame Democrats for failing to pass a fiscal year 2011 budget last year when they controlled both congressional chambers. They also say Obama and his party are ignoring the peril of rising federal deficits and the national debt.
Democrats say the $61 billion in spending cuts in the House bill would harm the nation's economic recovery and slash education and innovation programs essential for continued growth.
Opinion: How did we get to brink of shutdown?
The budget brinkmanship showed the political stakes of the situation, with both parties trying to depict the other as unwilling to do what's right for the country.
Obama and Reid insist that Democrats have agreed to more than 50% of the spending cuts sought by Republicans, which they said should be sufficient for a compromise on a measure that has little overall effect on the deficit and debt issues.
One of biggest obstacles to a deal involves whether reductions in mandatory spending programs, known in appropriations parlance as "changes in mandatory spending" or CHIMPS, should be part of spending cuts.
Examples of mandatory spending programs include Pell Grants, the Children's Health Insurance Program and some types of highway funding. Such programs are funded for multiple years at a time, with the spending set for the time period covered, exempt from congressional authorization each year.
Belief Blog -- My Take: Culture war in budget battle
Democratic sources have said they want about half the overall cuts in this spending bill to come from mandatory spending programs, and they have proposed the necessary reductions in programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Justice
Department and the Treasury Department, and in Pell Grants.
Republicans say that reducing the spending in a mandatory program for one year doesn't prevent the amount from returning to its original level the following year.
Posted 09 April 2011 - 03:30 AM
Posted 09 April 2011 - 03:45 AM
seems the right flip flopped after realizing they were actually gonna get blamed for this:funny1:
Or they've won anyway, as Thom writes:
With or Without a Government Shutdown - Republicans have Already Won the Debate
by Thom Hartmann
With or without a government shutdown, Republicans have already won the debate on our nation's budget. Why? Because the corporate media is on their side.
Make the wealthy pay their fair share.
A budget shouldn