Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has laid a final offer at Republicans’ feet, and it will require them to drop their insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood, and accepting what Reid insists is an agreed upon level of spending cuts. If Republicans don’t take it, and if Reid’s not bluffing, the government will shutdown.
“The number we’re not bending on,” he told reporters in a press briefing Friday morning. “We’re not bending on that and we’re not bending on women’s health.”
The ball is effectively now in House Speaker John Boehner’s court. Republicans have signaled a willingness to drop the Planned Parenthood rider in exchange for more spending cuts. But Reid says they’ve agreed on cut number — $78 billion below President Obama’s budget request last year, or about $38 billion off current spending. Reports on this figure have varied even in the last several hours.
After the briefing I asked Reid if this spending total, along with a menu of riders that does not include Planned Parenthood, represented his final offer.
“Yeah, that was what we, yeah,” he said. “Listen, we’ve agreed to their number last night. They can’t keep changing the goalposts.”
After a White House meeting last night, Reid said, all had been agreed to except a GOP plan to defund Planned Parenthood.
“The only thing left was women’s health,” Reid said. That’s a bridge too far, he said. “I am really concerned that this government is going to shutdown” over this issue.
“In the presence of the President of the United States, we went through those they — the Republicans — felt were most important,” Reid added. “We went through them one by one. They were all resolved — except the rider dealing with Planned Parenthood.”