Nothing concrete yet, but I think Major Garrett’s reading it right. Boehner’s emphasizing the amount of spending cuts to downplay a probable cave on the Planned Parenthood provisions and Reid’s emphasizing the Planned Parenthood provisions to downplay a probable cave on the amount of spending cuts.
As the clock ticked down toward a federal government shutdown, signs surfaced on Friday that a deal would be struck before the midnight deadline.
One telling indication was the fact that Democrats, out there aggressively defending funding for community health clinics and Title X funding, were met by mostly Republican silence.
They appeared ready to back an agreement that didn’t include the controversial rider concerning funding for Planned Parenthood. This might well be the face-saving concession Democrats win from Republicans as they acquiesce to $38 billion in cuts from the fiscal 2011 budget…
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told his members that a final deal continued to elude negotiators, but he remained hopeful that one could be reached before midnight. “Stay tuned. Keep the faith,” Boehner said, according to a lawmaker in the room who asked not to be identified because conference meetings are private.
According to a House staffer, Boehner’s telling caucus members that he thinks they’ll have a deal by the end of the day. On the Democratic side, Max Baucus also sounds optimistic. Even some of the House’s prominent social conservatives might be willing to bend on the Planned Parenthood rider, although Mike Pence put out a statement less than an hour ago insisting that he’s still committed to it. In all likelihood, Boehner’s now in a position similar to Pelosi’s before the final ObamaCare vote, with dozens of members of his caucus eager to vote no but grudgingly willing to vote yes if he needs them to pass the bill. Can’t wait to see how many House Dems sign onto this one, knowing that every vote in favor on their side will allow an additional social conservative across the aisle to protect him/herself by voting no.
As for the larger politics of today’s budget pageantry, low-information voters who rarely follow politics must be reading the headlines about a shutdown and having a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment, mystified as to what could be so important that it’s worth suspending government operations over. The fact that Paul Ryan’s budget rolled out a few days ago to great fanfare can only be compounding the confusion. How many people know that Boehner’s and Reid’s standoff has nothing (directly) to do with Ryan’s proposal? For that matter, how many aren’t aware of Ryan’s proposal at all, and will have their first impressions of it colored by whatever happens here? It’s enough to make even stalwart libertarian Matt Welch nervous about temporarily pulling the plug on the federal behemoth:
There is a tangible hunger across the land for adult talk about our dangerous and unsustainable fiscal situation. Into the vacuum created by Democrats this week stepped Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, whose opening gambit, despite avoiding any serious cuts in defense and Social Security, had the virtue of at least kick-starting a long-overdue conversation.
Much of that will go out the window if and when the federal government shuts down. Instead of winning arguments, budget hawks will be trying to win press conferences. Instead of tackling reform, they’ll be trying to tackle the buffoon on the other side of the cage.
All-or-nothing television duels create dynamics too hot to predict. True believers man their battle stations, cooler-headed partisans are reluctantly sucked into the fray, and the only growing political bloc in the country — independents — shrink away in horror. If that latter group comes out of a government shutdown ready to double down on the unacceptable budgetary status quo, there might not be time left to forestall the next economic catastrophe.
The Journal’s editorial board made a similar argument this morning, saying of Ryan’s budget and the debt ceiling fight, “Republicans will have more credibility over fights that really matter if they show they’re willing to compromise now.” My hunch is that a lot of House Republicans agree, whether they’re willing to admit it publicly or not, and not all of them are RINOs. As I say, can’t wait to see the roll call in the House if/when there’s a vote on the deal.
Via CNS, here’s Chuck Schumer insisting that Democrats will never, ever, evah vote to defund one of America’s biggest abortion factories.