Government Shutdown Watch


Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, makes a statement to the media on the budget negotiations on Friday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

For the past two days, we've been live-blogging the efforts to avert the first federal government shutdown since the mid-90s, which was set to start this weekend in the absence of a deal on the remaining fiscal year 2011 budget. Tips, comments, links? Send to or

April 8, 2011

11:29 pm. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tonight released a joint statement on the deal:

We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge that will give us time to avoid a shutdown while we get that agreement through both houses and to the President. We will cut $78.5 billion below the President's 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement on the policy riders. In the meantime, we will pass a short-term resolution to keep the government running through Thursday. That short-term bridge will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings.

11:16 p.m. Sen. Harry Reid addressed the Senate and asked for unanimous consent on the bridge bill; there appeared to be no objections and the ayes had it. Before asking, Reid spoke briefly, saying, "It's been very hard to arrive at this point" and noting, "this is historic what we have done." The Congress will in the final bill cut 78 and a half billion dollars, he said, and the short-term resolution passed tonight will keep the government running through Friday.

11:08 p.m. President Obama, speaking from the Blue Room of the White House, pointed to the Washington Monument visible behind him through the window and said, "Tomorrow, I'm pleased to announce that the Washington Monument as well as the entire federal government will be open for business." But he also did not shy away from noting that the agreement reached amounted to "the largest annual spending cut in our history" and will be "painful" to some.

11:03 CBS's Mark Knoller reports that "leaders agree to separate votes on federal funding for Title X Planned Parenthood centers at a later time." So that's how that compromise has been resolved.

10:54 p.m. House Speaker John Boehner briefly addressed the press just now to announce, "I'm pleased that Senator Reid and I and the White House have come to an agreement that will cut spending and keep the government open." A vote on a short-term continuing resolution to allow time for the agreement to be put together in legislative form is expected later tonight, the speaker said.

10:49 p.m. Tweets Harry Reid's communications director:

We have an agreement. Details/statement coming soon.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

10:39 p.m. CNN's Dana Bash says "there is a deal" and a handshake for somewhere in the ballpark of $38 to $39 billion in spending cuts. John King adds there's an agreement for a temporary spending measure to keep the government going through Thursday.

10:32 p.m. How excited is everyone that 11th hour negotiations are actually happening during the 11th hour?

10:10 p.m.The Hill's Bob Cusack points out that they'll need to pass a deal by unanimous consent to beat the shutdown deadline, meaning one objection from one lawmaker could mean a shutdown happens. Interesting facet to note: both Bachmann and Sen. Rand Paul have said they would not vote for this deal. This raises the question: if you don't object, but you vote "no," does that mean you really supported it?

9:59 p.m. House Republicans gathering for a meeting in the basement of the Capitol (via @jamiedupree): gopconference.banner.jpg A GOP aide confirms the House Republican Conference is meeting now; presumably, to learn about whatever deal has been worked out.

9:54 p.m. TPM reports on the flickers of revelations that a three-day bridge deal might be in the works and concludes that this "suggests that Republicans in Congress have been alerted to the contours of the deal, but that the leadership in both chambers are still in the process of selling the deal to their members."

9:41 p.m. The Washington Post's Paul Kane reports that, according to aides from both parties, congressional leaders are reviewing a deal that's been reached, along the lines of what Politico reported earlier tonight: $40 billion in cuts. New development in this reporting: The deal wouldn't include defunding Planned Parenthood.

9:20 p.m.Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will likely vote against whatever bill comes out of these discussions, whenever they end: Bachmann told Wolf Blitzer in a CNN interview that "I can't vote for a bill that doesn't defund Obamacare." As far as we know, that isn't on the table -- at all.

Bachmann has perhaps shifted her public image during this shutdown fight. While some have assumed that tea party House members have driven the hardest bargain in all of this, Bachmann has called for avoiding a shutdown and has seemed willing to compromise on Planned Parenthood funding to get a deal that involves more spending cuts.

8:03 p.m. Word on the street in D.C. is that a deal is in the offing. Over at Politico, some specifics: "The White House and congressional negotiators have reached agreement on controversial policy riders in the stalled government funding measure but still haven't cut a deal on the final spending numbers, according to GOP and Democratic sources."

6:16 p.m. The annual cherry blossom parade in the District will go on Saturday even if the federal government shuts down tonight, though it will take a slightly different route.

6:12 p.m. The Atlantic's Josh Green says we should stop blaming the shutdown on tea party-affiliated House freshmen: "Boehner raised a lot of money for a lot of freshman, Tea Party-affiliated and otherwise. And it looks like it's paying off, at least to an extent.... Many of them have stuck with him on the CRs, and they're generally not the ones who all fired up over Planned Parenthood. It's older, movement conservatives like Mike Pence who are gunning for a shutdown. Just worth noting."

6:06 p.m. The Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney makes an interesting point, tying the opposition Title X funding because the dollars go to Planned Parenthood to the fact that the group donates almost entirely to Democrats. While the amount of money the group expends is miniscule compared to that shelled out in the political sphere by other Democratic-leaning organizations, the fact that the group is a base Democratic group and is now being targeted of a piece with what's happened over the past few years to a number of other high-profile groups that are an important part of the Democratic coalition, such as public sector unions and, before that, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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