Obama, Lawmakers Fail To Agree on Long-Term Federal Spending Bill
A meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders failed to end an ongoing stalemate between Democrats and Republicans on the types and amount of spending cuts that should be included in a new budget package to keep the federal government funded through September, the Los Angeles Times reports (Mascaro/Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 4/6).
Tuesday's meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the leaders of the Senate and House appropriations committees was intended to resolve the stalemate and avert a looming government shutdown on Friday, when the current stopgap CR is set to expire (California Healthline, 4/5).
However, there appeared to be "no visible movement" in the impasse over the inclusion of several provisions in a longer-term continuing resolution bill, especially two GOP policy riders that would defund the federal health reform law and block taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Taylor, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/5).
The two riders were included in the FY 2011 CR budget bill (HR 1), which the House passed in February (California Healthline, 4/5).
Speaking to reporters at the White House after Tuesday's meeting, Obama said Reid and Boehner were expected to meet privately later in the day to work on the deal, but he warned that if they could not resolve their differences, he would call them back to the White House on Wednesday.
He added that if that does not work, "we'll invite them again the day after that. And I will have my entire team available to work through the details of getting a deal done."
However, the two leaders later issued similar statements suggesting that they "had a productive discussion" but had not reached a deal on a final spending bill, the AP/Boston Globe reports (Espo, AP/Boston Globe, 4/5).
Obama, Democrats Reject GOP's One-Week Stopgap Bill
Obama said he would accept another temporary spending bill only if it was necessary to complete a broader, longer-term agreement and get it through Congress (Hulse/Steinhauer, New York Times, 4/5).
The new stopgap CR, which House Republicans released on Monday, would fund the federal government until April 15 and ensure that the Department of Defense remains funded through September.
In addition, the stopgap measure -- the seventh this fiscal year -- would cut $12 billion in discretionary spending from current levels across a range of federal programs, and block local and federal funding for abortions in the District of Columbia (California Healthline, 4/5).
Democratic leaders also rejected the new stopgap proposal because of the provision to block funding for abortion in Washington, D.C., CQ Today reports.
Reid said that Democrats might have considered the proposal -- because it included all the domestic discretionary spending cuts to which negotiators have agreed in a longer-term spending bill -- but "then they [included] an abortion rider" (Young, CQ Today, 4/5).
Boehner Proposes $7B More in Spending Cuts
The AP/Globe reports that Boehner, who in recent days joined other Republican leaders in rejecting a recent Democratic-supported CR proposal with $33 billion in spending cuts, offered a counter-proposal at Tuesday's meeting that would increase those cuts to $40 billion (AP/Boston Globe, 4/5). According to the Times, White House aides were caught off guard by the proposal as they believed that he had accepted the $33 billion figure (Los Angeles Times, 4/5).
"We had an agreement on a number, and we presented more than one path to get there -- and congressional Republicans moved the goal post," an administration official said (CQ Today, 4/5).
A statement released by Boehner's office stated, "We can still avoid a [government] shutdown, but Democrats are going to need to get serious about cutting spending -- and soon" (AP/Boston Globe, 4/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.