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Archive for Saturday, April 9, 2011

No government shutdown: Lawmakers strike last-minute deal

April 9, 2011

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— Congress and the White House late Friday barely beat the clock and averted a partial government shutdown, agreeing to a last-minute deal to cut at least $38.5 billion from federal spending.

Congress will not vote on the deal, which would fund the government for the last six months of the fiscal year, until next week.

While no details were available — many will be worked out over the next few days — Democrats got the GOP to abandon efforts to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. And Republicans were able to get Democrats to agree to a budget cut close to what the GOP sought.

Convening shortly after the midnight deadline had passed, the House of Representatives voted 348 to 70 for a stopgap spending plan to keep the government running through Thursday. It earlier passed the Senate on a voice vote. President Barack Obama was expected to sign it early today.

Obama, who had pressed lawmakers for the last three days to reach a deal, earlier announced the agreement at the White House.

“Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business,” Obama said, pointing to the nearby landmark, which would have been closed to visitors had the government shut down. “And that’s because today Americans of different beliefs came together again.”

At the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a joint statement.

“We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge that will give us time to avoid a shutdown while we get that agreement through both houses and to the president,” they said.

GOP members of the House of Representatives were briefed on the deal late Friday, and there was virtually no dissension.

“It sounds like it’s all it can be,” said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

Without an agreement, much of the government would have begun shutting down at 12:01 a.m. today. The Office of Management and Budget issued a statement just before midnight instructing federal agencies “to continue their normal operations.”

The agreement was a calm, collegial end to a day that was a frenzy of behind-the-scenes offers and counter-offers. Obama talked to Reid and Boehner during the day, but the two sides were stuck for hours on precisely how to cut spending and whether to cut federal funds for Planned Parenthood.

The women’s health organization, the nation’s largest abortion provider, became a prime Republican target. The GOP-majority House of Representatives in February attached several social policy changes, including cutting off money to effect climate change policy and implement the 2010 health care law.

Those changes were dropped, but the Planned Parenthood provision remained, and became the focal point of congressional debate all day — until it too was dropped Friday night. In return, Republicans got more spending cuts.

They also got assurances that there will be separate votes on the most controversial provisions, including Planned Parenthood and repealing the health care law.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who said he was pleased with the deal, noted that any Senate vote to cut funding to Planned Parenthood isn’t likely to pass but “it will put the people (in the Senate) on record, which Reid didn’t want to do.”

Overall, Democrats had wanted $33 billion in cuts; Republicans originally sought $61 billion, then trimmed their request to $40 billion.

There was little dissent among GOP House lawmakers. Although they were elected in November on a “Pledge to America” to cut even more spending, they privately urged Republican leaders to take the deal.

A shutdown, many concluded, would be highly unpopular — a point that polls reinforced. And, Republicans contended, there would be other, more consequential budget fights throughout the year.

“Our goal is not to shut down the government,” Boehner said. “Our goal is to cut spending.”

Another effort is likely next week, when the House is expected to consider a 10-year spending plan to cut $6.2 trillion and make dramatic changes in tax, Medicare and Medicaid policy.

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 3 years ago

And to think, it is all because Dolph wrote about it and Washington responded.

What a waste of time, to write about it in the J/W and for Washington and the press to cover it. The United States is in trouble , big time.

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BornAgainAmerican 3 years ago

The FY11 budget process was a fiasco and notable for one thing only...the disgusting display of Democratic demagoguery. $38.5B is insignificant in the grand scheme of things...a mere spit in the ocean. Does anyone think Congress will manage things any better when they begin to address the debt ceiling or the $6T in cuts proposed by Paul Ryan for FY12? It's just incredible how the Dems have chosen to ignore the messsage from the Nov '10 midterms. They are dead-set on making the United States a European Socialist country.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

"“Our goal is not to shut down the government,” Boehner said. “Our goal is to cut spending.”"

Total BS. Your goal is to shut down every aspect of government that doesn't entail corporate welfare of one sort or another.

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Richard Heckler 3 years ago

How Much Do You Know About Planned Parenthood?

From the truckload of responses I'd say most have little idea surrounding Planned Parenthood and use extreme repub thinking as a source of information. In fact elected officials seem quite uniformed.

Of course birth control allows us to prevent pregnancy and plan the timing of pregnancy. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

There are many health issues that only affect women. This section focuses on women's health issues http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/womens-health-4284.htm

What do you know about sex? What do you know about sexuality? We hear about sex and sexuality almost every day, but much of what we hear is inaccurate and can be confusing. A basic understanding of sex and sexuality can help us sort out myth from fact and help us all enjoy our lives more. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/sexuality-4323.htm

There are many health issues that only affect men. This section focuses on men's sexual health issues. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/men-4285.htm

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Tom Shewmon 3 years ago

Still think this was a calculated move for Obama and his left-winger Dem pals not passing this 6 months ago to create this debacle then in the future use it to beat Repubs over the head with into the 12 election cycle. Dems are quite the disgusting lot these days.

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Liberty_One 3 years ago

Booo! It would have been nice if they shut down the government for at least a week giving us all a break, even if for a short while.

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Steve Jacob 3 years ago

Just proves we voters should never, ever let one party control the White House and Congress. They just screw things up. If we force them to work together, they do.

The economy is doing well since the mid-terms, and if we can fix the housing market and get oil back to $90 a barrel we'd be booming again.

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Liberty275 3 years ago

It boils down to two things in this case:

1: right wingers don't own women's bodies (except the female right wingers that own their own bodies). I encourage all right wing women to not kill the children in their womb unless they want to.

2: left wingers don't own my money. I encourage all left wingers to donate all of their spare money to the government with the express right to choose what that money can fund.

This message brought to you by libertarians... pro-choice on everything.

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