News Article, "Government Shutdown Avoided with Tentative Budget Deal – $39 Billion in Cuts, Planned Parenthood Left Alone," Daily News (4/8/11), by Thomas M. DeFrank and Corky Siemaszko
We've got a deal!
Democrats and Republicans reached a budget deal Friday night an hour before the midnight deadline, averting a potentially disastrous federal government shutdown.
Both sides agreed on plan that cuts $39 billion in federal spending – a mammoth amount, but far less than the $61 billion that Tea Party Republicans had been demanding.
President Obama, who rode herd on the negotiations, hailed the agreement.
"Americans with different beliefs came together again," he said in an address just minutes after the agreement from the White House.
The deal was reached as furlough notices were readied for legions of federal workers – and just as hope was running out that the shutdown might be prevented.
A few hours earlier, furious Democrats accused House Speaker John Boehner and the other Republicans of walking away from a deal that would have cut the budget by $38 billion.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the sticking point wasn't money – it was abortion and GOP calls for defunding Planned Parenthood.
"We all know the federal budget is very complex," Reid said. "The fact that Republicans made this about women's health and not about money is really a shame."
Mayor Bloomberg also blasted the Republicans for holding the budget hostage to an "ideological issue that has nothing to do with cutting the budget deficit."
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, insisted the fight was still about money.
"Most of the policy issues have been dealt with and the big fight is about spending," he said. "We have no interest in shutting down the government."
But Tea Party favorite Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, said he has no problem shutting down the government if it means defunding Planned Parenthood.
Joan Malin, president of Planned Parenthood of New York City, said they are barred by law from using federal money to fund abortions.
"It's an outrage to shut down the government over an extreme proposal that would deny millions of women Pap tests, breast cancer screenings and birth control," she said.
Meanwhile, the White House said both sides were still talking and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said "these are not unresolvable issues."
Just to be on the safe side, Reid also prepared a proposal to fund the government for another week and ensure the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan got paid.
The GOP offered it's own funding extension Thursday, but Reid said that's a non-starter because it's larded with language that would ban abortions in Washington.
Any shutdown would result in furloughs for thousands of federal workers in New York and tens of millions in lost revenue for the city.
Experts warned it would also endanger the slow recovery from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.