Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the top Democrat in the Senate, said Thursday morning that he was “not nearly as optimistic” about avoiding a shutdown as he was after a Wednesday night Oval Office meeting and said “it looks like it’s headed in that direction.”
Mr. Reid said that Republicans had “drawn a line in the sand” on issues of abortion financing and changes to the Clean Air Act, and he said those issues could not be resolved in the hours left before a government shutdown.
“The numbers are basically there,” Mr. Reid said on the floor of the Senate. “But I am not nearly as optimistic, and that’s an understatement, as I was 11 hours ago. The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”
Republicans immediately rejected Mr. Reid’s assertion that negotiators had settled on the amount of money that needed to be cut and that all that stood in the way of a deal were the policy differences.
“There is no agreement on numbers,” one senior House aide said. “We dispute that and don’t agree with it. Not even close on numbers.”
But Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner of the House, said that “Americans are concerned not just about how much we’re spending, but how we’re spending it. That’s why the policy provisions are an important part of this discussion.”
In case this isn’t already clear, we’re dealing with obvious madness. Republicans want to cut off Planned Parenthood and gut the Clean Air Act, but instead of pursuing legislation to achieve their goals, they’re insisting that this be part of the budget. Democrats can’t go along with this nonsense, and John Boehner is too weak a Speaker to tell his caucus to act like grown-ups, so the entire process is unraveling.
This has led to talk about the GOP shutting down the government over abortion, but even that’s not quite right — Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using public funds to terminate pregnancies, and has been for many years. What we’re talking about here is Republicans shutting down the government over access to contraception and family planning services.
This is the basis for the GOP hostage strategy.
Why doesn’t this have THOUSANDS of notes? This is fucking appalling.