Shutdown Watch: The Clock Is Ticking [UPDATE 9:30 PM Central] – We Have A Deal
9:30 PM – CNN reports that all parties have shaken hands and there is an agreement for permanent budget for the end of the year. The cuts that have been agreed to will be between $38 and $39 billion, and there will be a short term stop gap measure to keep the government running through Thursday to give time to construct the six month budget.
This is the end of today’s liveblog. Tomorrow we will be back with details on what these actual cuts should be.
8:30 PM – And it’s on again. The House GOP is scheduled to meet at 8:45 to discuss the pending deal. It sounds like first there will be a three day extension while the real deal is made. The eventual deal that will be passed will be a $39 billion spending cut bill, and in exchange for the Democrats giving in an extra $1 billion in spending, the riders are being removed. In other words, the Republicans got the same clean bill they were offered before, but with an extra $1 billion in spending cuts.
Let’s hope this is really it. I think we all want this resolved at this point. Well, everyone but the Tea Party.
8:15 PM – Or maybe not. Now Republican and Democratic sources are both saying there is no deal.
Michele Bachmann just stated that she cannot vote for any bill that does not “defund Obamacare.” So why are we even fighting over any of these riders if the Tea Party isn’t even on board if a compromise is reached? And how does Bachmann’s words mesh with her message that Boehner should get a deal done?
Speaking of contradictions, did you hear the one about Sen. Kyl stating that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood funding goes to abortion? When told that abortion is less than three percent of what they do, he responded that it wasn’t intended to be a “factual statement.”
7:30 PM – It sounds like a one week stopgap continuing resolution will be announced very shortly. Although both sides have said that they have no interest in another short term bill, Boehner had said they would be willing to consider one if a real budget deal was so close that it would take another few days to hammer out the last bits. Allegedly, the Planned Parenthood funding issue has been resolved, according to a CNN political reporter.
5:30 PM – It’s been a couple of hours, and word is that we are “very close” to resolving the Planned Parenthood issue. President Obama is expected to be speaking before the deadline to state whether we will be seeing a shutdown or not.
The riders limiting the environmental Protection Agency are likely not to be included, according to both sides of the aisle. That just leaves the Title X funding as the main sticking point, and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand accuses the Republicans of putting their ideological agenda ahead of families [VIDEO].
So how does this get resolved? The White House has stated that there will be no more negotiation from their end and that Boehner and the House Republicans have to finally give. Presidential contenders like Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee are saying to just come to an agreement (although Newt Gingrich, who has actually been through a few shutdowns, has said to shut it down). Boehner’s position is growing weaker as time passes, but could that in fact make him dig in more?
Here are seven things that Americans will lose if the government does shut down.
3:00 PM – Speaker Boehner is now stating we may just be “a couple of hours” from a deal, although we’ve already heard that before. The Planned Parenthood fight has been clarified slightly — apparently there was an offer that Title X funding should be given directly to state, who could decide what agencies would receive the money. Essentially, that would mean that just as there are states that are slowly winnowing away access to a safe, affordable abortion, we could then have states that can restrict access to safe, affordable preventative care. I can already picture it — states that allow abortion, states that allow birth control, states that will force women to have children endlessly and against their will. I’m sure states like Texas and Utah will be more than willing to provide Title X funds to pregnancy centers and faith based abstinence counseling and call it a day.
So, assuming we do not reach an agreement, what will shut down in 8 hours? As our own Beth Buczynski writes, national parks would lose $32 million each day. Wonkroom states that soldiers would be fighting for free, and workstudies, loan programs for housing, business and schools would be distrupted.
1:30 PM – Reid and Democrats just held a press conference with Reid stating that there actually was a deal last night, and the GOP has backed out of it. According to Reid, both parties agreed to 78 billion in spending cuts. This morning, at 4 am, Reid then received an email saying that they no longer agreed to that number. Will this admission force the Republicans to come to an agreement, or simply anger them into a total stalemate?
The Democrats provided a unified party front (something highly unusual for that party) saying that there will be no capituation on the $300 million in Planned Parenthood fund stripping that the Republicans are requesting. Reid emphasized that this funding does not go to abortion, but instead provides cancer screenings and other preventative health care, and that holding the government hostage over it is not ok. “[N]o one in this country should be given the choice of “no one will have a job on Monday unless you give away women’s rights,” stated Sen. Patty Murray.
The Washington Post has put up a chart showing exactly how 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services go to things other than abortion.
Wondering how a shut down could effect the economy? Wonk Room has a report.
12:00 PM – Boehner has just done a press conference stating that “almost all” policy agreements have been reached, the issue is still spending. “This is not about shutting down the government, this is about spending.” He has made it clear that they are only pushing for a continuing resolution, not even a real budget anymore, which means that even if we do get to a resolution tonight, we will likely do this exact same dance again next week.
11:30 AM – New reports are that the cuts will be $38 billion in spending, with a new chunk added into the original mix to get the Republicans to get the riders off the table. However, TPM says Boehner has not agreed to taking defunding Planned Parenthood off the table.
Meanwhile, Democratic Congresswoman are expressing extreme support for the reproductive health care provider, saying that defunding is not an option. Hopefully this strong language isn’t going to lead to an embarassing party cave later.
11:00 AM – Are we almost there? Reuters is reporting that there will be an agreement shortly.
10:30 AM: Reid may be saying that the holdup is nothing but the defunding Planned Parenthood rider, but Boehner is saying really it’s “spending.” According to Boehner, Democrats have not proven yet that the are “serious” about cutting it. The vagueness of Boehner’s language implies that Republicans are aware that they are losing the P.R. battle over holding the government hostage over women’s health, and are trying to back away from the talking point, also by calling this continuing resolution the “Troop support” bill. But as Tennessee Representative Cohen said on the floor: “If you really wanted to fund the troops you’d fund the troops. You wouldn’t put a rider on it that hurts women.”
And Bachmann is upping her own game, offering to donate two weeks of her own salary to troops.
9:30 AM: The final sticking point is in fact defunding Planned Parenthood, and Sen. Leader Harry Reid is telling the Republicans to take it or leave it. Via Talking Points Memo:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has laid a final offer at Republicans’ feet, and it will require them to drop their insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood, and accepting what Reid insists is an agreed upon level of spending cuts. If Republicans don’t take it, and if Reid’s not bluffing, the government will shutdown.
“The number we’re not bending on,” he told reporters in a press briefing Friday morning. “We’re not bending on that and we’re not bending on women’s health.”
Meanwhile, the kabuki theater on the floor continues, with Republicans accusing Democrats of refusing to fund troops because they are “zealots” who would rather shut down the government than defund Planned Parenthood. Which, would sort of mean that the GOP is doing the same thing, right? The Republicans support our troops in elections, but hold them hostage on budget negotiations.
8:30 AM: It turns out that Republican Representive, potential presidential candidate and Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann may actually be a voice of reason on the shutdown. The Hill reports that Bachmann is suggesting Republicans remove the riders and offer up a clean bill instead. “‘Well, my opinion is this: I think that we should have a clean bill that makes sure that the paycheck gets to the troops on time,’ Bachmann said when asked whether the policy riders should be ‘set aside’ for the ‘next battle’ over the 2012 budget.” Does that mean a compromise really might be possible?
“After all, now that President Obama has us engaged in a third war in Libya, I think it’s imperative that our troops not pay a price and none of the families back home should worry whether or not they’re getting a check,” Bachmann added.
7:15 AM — The clock is ticking, and we should know any time today whether a compromise has been made or the government will shut down at midnight. The last shut down was in 1995, with one occuring in November for one week, and a second between Christmas and New Years that lasted for three.
CBS reports that today a shutdown would cost about $8 billion a week, so the same shutdown would cost roughly $32 billion. Remember that number when Republicans say they are holding strong in order to cut goverment spending.
Pundits still state that the sticking points are shutting down most of the Environmental Protection Agency and “abortion.” The “abortion” discussion is a misdirection, of course, since because of the Hyde Amendment the government hasn’t provided funding for any abortion that wasn’t a case of rape, incest or mother’s health in decades. But “abortion” makes excellent shorthand for “telling women that affordable access to cancer screenings and birth control pills is less important to us than scoring a ‘moral victory’ for our anti-abortion donors.”
The next report will allegedly come in at 9:30 AM Central, so be sure to check back for updates.