Federal government shutdown avoided for at least a week
With roughly an hour to spare before a midnight deadline, federal lawmakers and President Barack Obama struck a deal to avoid a shutdown of the federal government — at least for this week.
“We will cut $78.5 billion below the president’s 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement on the policy riders,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wrote in a joint statement.
Federal funding for Planned Parenthood was kept intact despite the deep cuts.
“We protected the investments we need to win the future,” said Obama. “At the same time, we also made sure at the end of the day this was a debate about spending cuts — not social issues like women’s health and the protection of our air and water. These are important issues that deserve discussion, just not during a debate about our budget.”
In addition to the larger budget deal, lawmakers quickly passed a short-term funding extension late Friday night (Senate) and early Saturday morning (House), which will allow the government to continue operations through Thursday, April 14. President Obama is expected to sign the measure later Saturday.
“Tonight, at the eleventh hour, House Republican leadership backed off of their threats to shut down the government over a policy that had nothing to do with budgeting – cancer screenings and other preventative health care for women,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “Now that this debate is over, Congress can refocus on the budget for the next fiscal year and the long term. It remains my hope that the next proposal will include spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while making room for critical investments in education, job training, infrastructure, and research – things that are essential for jobs now and for economic expansion and job creation in the years ahead.”
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) also added his relief that the situation had not resulted in a shutdown.
“It’s unfortunate that politicians in Washington let their political game of chicken get to this point,” Loebsack said. “I am relieved that this temporary agreement was reached, and I am eager to review what I hope is a reasonable final compromise. Iowa families, businesses, and our troops shouldn’t have been caught in the middle of Washington’s political games, and I will continue to work to ensure that a budget is passed so that we can move on to the issues my constituents tell me are important to them: job creation and economic development.”
According to CNN Money, the temporary truce marks the seventh extension passed by Congress for this fiscal year and since Obama provided his first budget on Feb. 1, 2010.
… The latest stalemate had lawmakers veer toward the precipice as they argued over a few billion dollars and a set of contentious political issues — like abortion — that were inserted into the debate.
There were multiple White House meetings and hours in which earnest aides tried to reach an agreement.
What happens next? Congress has given itself another week to pass a budget and again avoid a shutdown. See you on Friday.