The forecast for Washington starts something like this: "Sunny with a chance of shutdown," writes ABC. Despite the President's intervention yesterday, both parties left the White House empty-handed. The Republicans' seven-day deal, which would have shaved off another $12 billion in spending and blocked the direct funding of D.C. abortions, was rejected outright. Both President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made it clear that any attempt to deflate their abortion agenda is a nonstarter. "... [T]hey stick an abortion rider on this?" Reid said. "I mean, it seems that every step we take, it's something just to poke us in the eye."
In other words, if protecting Planned Parenthood means shutting down the government and gambling with America 's future, so be it. The Left would sooner send the country off a financial cliff than sacrifice a penny of abortion funding. On matters like life, Speaker Boehner can be just as stubborn. "We've made clear that policy provisions must be part of any final agreement, because the American people are concerned--not just about how much we're spending--but how we're spending it." At an impromptu press conference in the afternoon, President Obama insisted that Democrats have been more than accommodating. "Nobody gets a hundred percent of what they want," he said, falsely claiming that his party has met Boehner "halfway."
At a time when America is borrowing $4 billion a day, Sen. Reid will have to do better than that. Late Tuesday, the House Speaker shuttled over another deal--this time for $40 billion in cuts, $7 billion more than what Democrats want. "We have been willing to do what is fair in ratcheting down very, very hard on programs dealing with domestic discretionary spending," Reid said. "We can't go any more." That's interesting, since the Government Accounting Office (GAO) says there's more than $48 billion in fraud ripe for the cutting-just from Medicare alone! Add that to the $100 billion in duplicate government programs, the $17.5 billion ObamaCare "slush fund," and suddenly, $40 billion doesn't seem like that much. Of course, there's a lot more at stake here than cuts. This is a matter of credibility, and the House freshmen are adamant about keeping their promise to voters. "The people who seem to be afraid of a government shutdown... are worried about getting elected in two more years," said Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas). "I'm [more] worried about having to go home and tell the folks... that I'm a liar."
The negotiators have until midnight this Friday to salvage a deal. The President told reporters he expected to see both leaders today for " a meeting again here at the White House." The only problem is, he won't be there. The President is headed out of town to a swing district in Pennsylvania for a townhall on energy. House Democrats today tried to force a vote on the floor that would have allowed them to join him. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) submitted a motion to recommit that would have had the House adjourn today, despite a government shutdown looming! For an inside track on the budget while talks go down to the wire, check out this clip of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) from last night's FRC Action webcast. For the full video, click here.