Report: Budget agreement for $39 billion in cuts may be imminent; Update: Sources tell ABC deal is done; Update: “This is the best deal we could get out of them”; Update: No funding for abortion in D.C.

posted at 8:50 pm on April 8, 2011 by Allahpundit

It’s not a Democratic ploy, either. House Republican sources, including David Dreier, are telling NRO that it looks like a done deal. No surprise, given the reports about the red-meat wrinkles having been ironed out.

Fox News says Reid’s set to speak on the Senate floor soon. Presumably all that’s left is for each side to sign off on the final terms and then he’ll make the announcement. Total cuts: $39 billion, which is a bit higher than what Boehner (allegedly) asked for initially. As expected, he traded concessions on Planned Parenthood for deeper cuts.

The likelihood of a war-time federal government shutdown—the first in American history—diminished dramatically on Friday night as all parties began reviewing, with the goal of approving, a broad array of cuts and a short-term bill to keep the government operating while the details are put into legislative language for full congressional action next week.

While leadership staff insist there is no deal yet, that caution belies significant progress in narrowing long-standing differences and the widening assumption in both parties that a shutdown will be averted and all that remains unknown is the precise procedural steps that will walk everyone back from the abyss.

Numerous GOP and Democratic sources on and off Capitol Hill tell National Journal that the outline of the deal is as follows: up to $39 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget, $514 billion for the defense budget covering the remainder of this fiscal year, a GOP agreement to abandon controversial policy riders dealing with Planned Parenthood and the EPA, and an agreement to pass a “bridge” continuing resolution tonight to keep the government operating while the deal is written in bill form…

Republicans do not want any agreement framework to surface before a conference meeting this evening. And a Senate Democratic aide that side is wary that opposition House conservatives will still scuttle a deal.

They probably can’t pass the full 2011 budget before midnight, so the plan is to have an agreement in principle on that and instead pass the three- or seven-day stopgap tonight. The vote on funding the government for the rest of the year will come early next week, and then we’ll move on to the debt ceiling debate, followed by the endless war over Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget. How excited are you?

As for that boldfaced part, it’d be insane for Republicans to be telling reporters that a deal is imminent if they weren’t sure yet that the conference (or most of the conference) will sign onto it. They’d be gift-wrapping a “social conservatives forced a shutdown!” narrative for the media — which, perhaps, explains why they were sending out e-mails to reporters as of 10 minutes ago insisting that nothing has been agreed to yet. Reid should be speaking at 9 p.m. ET or a bit later. Stand by for updates.

Update: Boehner’s going to hear it from fiscal cons unhappy with the amount of cuts and from social cons unhappy with the Planned Parenthood provisions being dropped, but he’s hearing it from Allen West for a third reason — playing politics with troop funding in yesterday’s proposed one-week stopgap budget.

“The House Majority has now placed the funding for the Department of Defense and the funding for the troops down as a bargaining chip,” he writes. “In the last 100 days, the House Majority could have passed at any point in time a separate stand alone Appropriations for the Department of Defense and the funding for our men and women in uniform.”

West then added that he is “disgusted” by the perception that troops are being used to pass the short-term budget bill.

“I voted for the Department of Defense Appropriation bill because, at this moment in time, due to the complete failure by the Democrat Majority in the Senate this is currently the only vehicle on the table,” he writes. “But more importantly, my ‘Yes’ vote today was for my Brothers and Sisters in uniform. My ‘No’ sentiment reflects a disappointment in my own leadership.”

I’ve been under the assumption all day that if talks break down and the shutdown cometh, Reid and Boehner will at least pass a stopgap funding bill for military personnel. The idea of U.S. troops not getting paid while in the field is repulsive; according to the Journal, families of troops killed in action would also suffer as death benefits are temporarily stopped. As I write this, Kay Bailey Hutchison is on the Senate floor demanding a troop-funding measure. We’ll see that happen, at least, before midnight. I hope.

Update: Maybe this is the White House not wanting to get ahead of Reid and Boehner at a delicate moment, or maybe it’s the truth: “At the WH [we're] hearing no budget deal yet and ‘nothing is imminent.’ House Republicans to meet in a little while.”

Update: For what it’s worth, Chuck Todd says there is a deal and that the GOP conference is currently reviewing it. Assuming they okay it, there’ll be some sort of announcement then.

Update: Sure looks like we’re close to a deal: Check out what Mike Johanns posted on his Senate website before quickly withdrawing it.

Update: Tapper says the GOP conference has given Boehner the green light and now sources from both sides are saying the deal is done. $38.5 billion in cuts, no defunding of Planned Parenthood. National Journal sets the scene inside the conference room:

BREAKING: House Speaker John Boehner outlined the parameters of a long-term funding deal, telling his members in a closed-door meeting, “This is the best deal we could get out of them,” according to a lawmaker in the room who asked not to be identified.

The deal is still not official, Boehner cautioned, but in a sign things are coming to a close, the House is preparing for a 5-6-day short-term continuing resolution with $3 billion in cuts, he told members, according to the lawmaker.

Update: Here’s a slightly sunnier way to think of the $38.5 billion in cuts: “CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh reported that a senior GOP aide in the meeting called it the ‘largest real dollar spending cut in American history’ and said the proposal would cut more than $500 billion from the federal budget over the next 10 years.”

Update: The joint statement from Reid and Boehner:

“We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge that will give us time to avoid a shutdown while we get that agreement through both houses and to the President. We will cut $78.5 billion below the President’s 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement on the policy riders. In the meantime, we will pass a short-term resolution to keep the government running through Thursday. That short-term bridge will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings.”

As part of the compromise, the GOP will get a vote in the Senate on defunding Planned Parenthood and NPR, etc. Needless to say, those votes will fail.

Update: Turns out there is one rider that’ll end up as part of the final deal. The provision defunding abortion in D.C., which was initially part of Boehner’s proposed one-week stopgap budget, will be added to the package. Democrats have voted for that in the past as part of other budget bills so they have some political cover from precedent.


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I’ll take this victory and run with it folks. If the Dems got their way there would have been no cuts and the start of enormous tax increases.

When the Dems knew a couple of weeks before election night 2010 that they had no hope of winning, they walked away from the budget process to use it as a football for them to win reelection in 2012. This much is obvious. The work that Boehner and the Repubs this year was to clean the mess left behind as the Dems walked away.

NEXT YEAR’S budget will be the key. The Repubs will own the budget and Ryan will present his plan. This little skirmish is the prelude before the Big War. If the Repubs fail next year then I’m joining the barracades with everyone else. Until then, I’ll accept the job they did.

itsspideyman on April 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM

MB was hurt by her flipflop last night make no mistake about it.

unseen on April 9, 2011 at 7:17 AM

Maybe if you have a case of ANPDS (Anyone not Palin Derangement Syndrome). I guess you’ve gone the way of gary – he also started off giving well-thought out substantial defense of the Guv only to deteriorate into flaming out against anyone who’s not Palin. Hopefully you don’t keep descending to the point of starting every response you make with the accusation of “Troll”…

miConsevative on April 9, 2011 at 9:15 AM

You could see this coming a long way away. Neither party actually wanted a government “shutdown,” but both were under strong pressure to stick up for their constituencies. As of a few minutes ago, an agreement apparently has been reached for what remains of FY 2011. We will see in the morning what the deal is, but we are down to a pretty narrow margin.

The real battle will be fought between now and the fall–certainly over raising the debt limit, probably over the FY 2012 budget, although Democrats may well punt that one by refusing to adopt any budget at all. You ask, have they no shame? You’re kidding, right?

We will see the details of the agreement soon, but for now I congratulate Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans. Operating within the confines of a continuing resolution for a fiscal year that was already half over, and opposing a hostile Senate and White House, they bargained for and got quite a lot of consideration, bearing in mind that they could deal only with the “discretionary” part of the federal budget. How much consideration, we will know in the morning. But John Boehner’s basic judgment–that he should apply all the pressure he could to make the best possible deal on FY 2011, then close that deal and move on to the real battles that loom not far off–was right.

This from powerline best represents my feelings… Put this behind us now for the moment and get back on the task of destroying every money laundering network the Democrats have in their tool chest. We have just begun to destroy the union death grip on our way of life… Much work to be done.

Keemo on April 9, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Oh, goodie. Since we are adding 4B/day to our debt, our politically conservative team has managed to stave off desperation by 10 days. That is so helpful /sarc.

Chitownmom on April 9, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Chitownmom on April 9, 2011 at 9:33 AM

They managed to cut about 7% of non-defense discretionary.

Stop hyperventilating because they didn’t repeal ObamaCare and up the retirement age for Social Security in a continuing resolution.

BadgerHawk on April 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM

This from powerline best represents my feelings… Put this behind us now for the moment and get back on the task of destroying every money laundering network the Democrats have in their tool chest. We have just begun to destroy the union death grip on our way of life… Much work to be done.

Keemo on April 9, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I agree with this. Move on, move forward and fight! There is much work to be done!

ladyingray on April 9, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I am disappointed, but not disheartened. The insightful comments here remind me that we are aware and awake, unlike most of us have ever been in our lifetimes. We can respectfully disagree with one another on nuance, but our goal of saving America from intentional destruction by Democrats must stay strong. Just keep pushing….let’s roll!

redwhiteblue on April 9, 2011 at 9:54 AM

All this drama for cuts amounting to less than 20% of the deficit run in February alone. And the commitment to fund the holocaust of our most helpless human beings continues.

What a sad, pathetic joke on us all.

jazz_piano on April 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Pelosi lite or warmed over excuses and cries for patience against the foulest of evils just doesn’t cut it anymore. That six billion extra, that Boehner just swapped for baby’s lives will be spent many times over in the blink of an eye by those folks, while the enabling GOP continues to sputter about great wrongs and brags about the infinitesimal gains the left allows them, like curs under the table – content with the master’s scraps.
You don’t fight evil by nibbling – you need to confront it head on, each and every time, or else you will soon be on its side….which I suspect we are. Human lives, unlike money, are “zero sum” issues. A life can’t be retrieved by a Rand Paul prudent 10 year savings plans.
Is the GOP’s new bumper sticker Babies for Bucks - And we laughed at Obama’s Cash for Clunkers?

Don L on April 9, 2011 at 10:03 AM

You certainly are focused.

Cindy Munford on April 8, 2011 at 10:21 PM

I’m as focused as those who are willing to shutdown the government to stop funding PP. Are you as critical of them?

ladyingray on April 9, 2011 at 10:35 AM

TheRightMan on April 9, 2011 at 9:10 AM

I am a realist, not an absolutionist. A person can be absolute in their ways, but they soon find themselves being shut out and ignored. A realist understands what it is they have to deal with and deals with it in a manner consistent with the facts around them.

Real fact- GOP controls 1/3 of the Capital. Soliders not being paid and the thought of angry military wives protesting was not good optics for the GOP.

Absolutionist facts – Who cares let them suffer for the better good of the whole.

I understand that the Tea Party is more absolute in their beliefs. I don’t disagree with their positions. I do disagree, that it has to be so absolute.

Rndguy on April 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Great Job! Spending weeks to cut just one week worth of Federal spending. Brilliant achievement!

Egfrow on April 9, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I am a realist, not an absolutionist

Good thing the Patriots or the Apostles didn’t have this handicap.

Nibbling a python’s tail while it’s swallowing you whole is also a form of realism -a fatal form.

Don L on April 9, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Whine whine whine

Magnus on April 9, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Fiscally conservative government employees applaud this deal. Way to go J.B.

KW64 on April 9, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Well, the very first thing out of Boehner’s mouth when the 2012 budget battle starts is that negotiation on spending cuts will begin AFTER the spending is brought back to the 2008 levels! That is where negotiations start. We WILL NOT negotiate on any levels above 2008. PERIOD!

csdeven on April 9, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I don’t get it. I find it hard to beleive that people think that the house alone can pass last years budget. It just amazes me that th republicans could pass any budget that included 1 cent in cuts to the 2010 budget for 2011. We and I mean conservatives only control 1 of 3 parts to get to a budget. There is no way fiscal responsibilty will come to the federal government as long as Ried and Obama hold thier current offices.

Just a sidebar we won 87 seats in the house in 2010. These new members changed D.C. and the way politicians view the budget. The way I figure it the newly electeted reps. each saved the taxpayers about 440 million dollars. Just think what would happen in 2012 without Ried and Obama.

TomLawler on April 9, 2011 at 12:41 PM

They managed to cut about 7% of non-defense discretionary.

Stop hyperventilating because they didn’t repeal ObamaCare and up the retirement age for Social Security in a continuing resolution.

BadgerHawk on April 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Wow… impressive mind reading since I made no mention of Obama care.

Perhaps I’m simply underwhelmed by the entire result.

Chitownmom on April 9, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Update to earlier post.
I failed to ask anyone. Does the 38 billion dollar cut include the previous 10 billion in cuts? Or easier is the total cut 38 or 48 billion?

TomLawler on April 9, 2011 at 4:13 PM

is the total cut 38 or 48 billion?

TomLawler on April 9, 2011 at 4:13 PM

I have seen both in print. I would like to know as well.

Washinton Times says school vochers in DC are also included. That is important to me.

burt on April 9, 2011 at 4:41 PM

812 Comments » | 9 Trackbacks

Is this a record?

burt on April 9, 2011 at 4:44 PM

I don’t get it. I find it hard to beleive that people think that the house alone can pass last years budget. It just amazes me that th republicans could pass any budget that included 1 cent in cuts to the 2010 budget for 2011. We and I mean conservatives only control 1 of 3 parts to get to a budget. There is no way fiscal responsibilty will come to the federal government as long as Ried and Obama hold thier current offices.

Just a sidebar we won 87 seats in the house in 2010. These new members changed D.C. and the way politicians view the budget. The way I figure it the newly electeted reps. each saved the taxpayers about 440 million dollars. Just think what would happen in 2012 without Ried and Obama.

TomLawler on April 9, 2011 at 12:41 PM

I totally agree; people want everything right now. As much as the Constitution is carped about here I would think people would realize that we control just 1/3 of what we need and still managed to get cuts, even small ones, by outmaneuvering Reid and the WH.

I shudder to think what a Pelosi-Reid-Obama budget that got past last year would have looked like. We put enough pressure on them before the election that they were to scared to do it and have successfully re-framed the message about how much to cut not how much to spend.

Sure you can look at it that they only got 48 B in cuts. I look at it as we got 48 B in cuts, probably half a trillion in less spending than if Pelosi and crew had been in charge and the left being left to screech about bombs and starving old people which more and more rational people are beginning to see for the crap that it is.

I think this whole deal played out in a way to make the GOP look much better to independents than the Party of No Cuts, the Dems. Reid looked weak, Obama looked weak, and the crying Senator looked like an actual leader. We have the momentum we just have to keep it. We’re beating the unions, we’re beating the left.

Between this, Ryan’s budget proposal, and sweet victory in WI I am feeling charged up to finish the job we started last November in 2012!

SittingDeadRed on April 10, 2011 at 12:26 AM

TomLawler on April 9, 2011 at 12:41 PM

I am inspired by what has occurred since this new class took office in January, and it has confirmed the truth and wisdom of many who said that we should be patient and focus on the primaries — and elect conservatives, not just Republicans, but when given the devil’s choice of RINO vs. DemLib, choose the RINO.

The GOP House has functioned largely as a conservative body. Our next goal is to take over the Senate — all we need is a net five new Republicans in 2012 — and of course to get rid of this doofus in the White House.

Jaibones on April 11, 2011 at 8:18 AM

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