The United States government is on the verge of shutting down over a dispute about subsidized pap smears, according to sources familiar with the budget negotiations.
The White House and Senate Democrats have publicly capitulated to ever-increasing Republican demands for spending cuts, but negotiations over the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year have shifted their focus from money to so-called riders — provisions that restrict the federal government from spending money on certain projects or entities.
Riders are used by members of Congress to make social policy without going through the regular congressional committee process, or they are used to benefit business interests by specifically blocking the government from spending money to write or enforce certain regulations.
At a late-night White House meeting between the president and key congressional leaders, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made clear that his conference would not approve funding for the government if any money were allowed to flow to Planned Parenthood through legislation known as Title X. “This comes down to women’s health issues related to Title X,” a person in the meeting told HuffPost.
The negotiations are dominated by men: All of the principal negotiators in both parties are male, as are most of the senior staff involved. (House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have largely been left out of key talks.)
House Republicans have been insisting the roadblock to cutting a new budget deal is not just the culture-war riders attached to the spending plan, but a source familiar with a top-level White House meeting earlier Thursday said most of the discussion in fact was about the riders.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama met at 1 p.m., and while the discussion started with the numbers, a senior Democratic aide said it soon turned to non-budgetary provisions like defunding Planned Parenthood, Environmental Protection Agency rules — and then some.
- Still No Deal as Thursday Becomes Shutdown D-Day; Planned Parenthood Rider the Big Sticking Point, Sources Say (blogs.abcnews.com)
- Government Shutdown Not Yet Averted As White House Meeting Fails To Produce Deal (huffingtonpost.com)
- Reid: GOP Culture Wars Will Shut Down The Government (huffingtonpost.com)
- A Look At Effects Of Government Shutdown (huffingtonpost.com)
- Government shutdown: As it gets more likely, Washington politics gets more immature. (slate.com)
- Why Obama calls GOP plan to delay government shutdown ‘a distraction’ (csmonitor.com)
- Obama threatens to veto Republican budget extension plan (thestar.com)