April 8, 2011
Just hours away from a potential government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans still haven't reached an agreement on the federal budget and are pointing fingers when it comes to who is at blame for the impasse.
According to CNN, Democrats say the main dispute is over abortion and women's health spending. Republicans, on the other hand, argue Democrats are not willing to cut spending enough.
"Most of the policy issues have been dealt with," said House Speaker John Boehner. "When (Republicans) say we're serious about cutting spending, we're damn serious about it."
Late Thursday night, President Obama urged Congress to come to an agreement by Friday morning, pointing out that shutting down government operations would only hurt federal workers, the people who rely on their services and reverse the growth the economy is finally starting to see.
"For us to go backwards because Washington couldn't get its act together is unacceptable," said the President.
With a shutdown seemingly imminent, Boehner urged the Senate to pass a short-term spending bill that would fund the military for the remainder of the fiscal year, cut $12 billion in federal spending and keep the government operating for another week, reported The New York Times. Democrats and President Obama, however, oppose the bill because it contains restrictions on women's health programs, including Planned Parenthood.
Senator Harry Reid told reporters that the Senate would push for an extension that would keep the government open for another week, but not reduce spending--a move that is unlikely to be approved, noted CNN.
According to The New York Times, Republicans and Democrats are at a standstill over about $1 billion or $2 billion--Boehner sought to cut spending by $39 billion, while Democrats were ready to accept $37 billion. By mid-morning Friday, Reid stated that Democrats were willing to accept $38 billion.
Some have reported that an agreement on $38 billion was made Thursday, but fell apart overnight, reported The Wall Street Journal. House Appropriations committee Chairman Hal Rogers, however, said that no agreement was ever made.
"There is no number. The main negotiations are about the number, savings, spending," said Rogers.
Regardless of the reason, many are worried about what's at stake should the government close at the end of Friday. Not only would some 800,000 federal workers not get paid, but national parks would close--costing an average of $32 million in lost revenue from tourism per day, noted CNN--paper-filed tax refunds would cease, military pay would be on hold and some housing loans wouldn't be processed. And that's just a few of the negative repercussions. USA Today noted that a shutdown would also impact the State Department, Department of Defense, core functions in the District of Columbia and much more.
Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff
"Budget Talks Remain at Impasse," online.wsj.com, April 9, 2011, Siobhan Hughes and Michael R. Crittenden
"Democrats, GOP bicker over cause of budget standoff," CNN.com, April 8, 2011, Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen
"Shutdown Near, No Sign of Compromise," NYTimes.com, April 8, 2011, Carl Hulse and Michael D. Shear
"The price of a shutdown," CNNMoney.com, April 7, 2011, Charles Riley
"What's at risk if there is a government shutdown?," USAToday.com, April 7, 2011, Gregory Korte