Shutdown talks but no deal as clock ticks down

By David Espo

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, April 7 2011 4:40 p.m. MDT

It also was less than the $40 billion Boehner floated earlier in the week — a number that Republicans indicated was flexible.

There also were hints of Republican flexibility on a ban they were seeking to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Officials said that in talks at the White House that stretched on after midnight on Wednesday, Republicans had suggested giving state officials discretion in deciding how to distribute family planning funds that now go directly from the federal government to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

That would presumably leave a decision on funding to governors, many of whom oppose abortion, and sever the financial link between the federal government and an organization that Republicans assail as the country's biggest provider of abortions.

Democrats seemed unlikely to accept the proposal, and it was not clear whether it might form the basic framework for an agreement.

Nor was it clear what, if any, changes were contemplated on the Republican calls for Environmental Protection Agency restrictions. On a vote Wednesday on an unrelated bill, the Senate split 50-50 on a call to ban the agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

But based on other votes during the day, there appeared to be a majority to support some restriction.

Reid criticized Republicans for seeking a ban on the use of federal and local funds to pay for most abortions in the District of Columbia.

But Republicans quickly circulated a list of previous instances in which Obama had signed a similar provision or Reid and House Democratic leaders had supported it as part of a larger measure.

Legislation passed by the House six weeks ago called for $61 billion in cuts and dozens of non-spending provisions.

The Senate has yet to pass an equivalent bill of its own, but Congress has passed a pair of short-term measures in the intervening time to keep the government running, approving a total of $10 billion in spending cuts at the same time.

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Ben Feller, Erica Werner and Julie Pace contributed to this report.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS