Radical Republicans Tried to Hold Government Hostage for Crazy Cultural Agenda, Not Balancing the Budget
With a possible government shutdown looming, many right-wing media figures have falsely suggested that the negotiations are centered solely on spending. However, according to news reports, conflicts over policies -- such as Republican demands to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory abilities -- are currently more responsible for the lack of a budget deal.
HANNITY: So, we are headed for a government shutdown or are we? And I personally think, first of all, we'll get to Paul Ryan's budget. I love the budget, $6.2 trillion is serious cuts. These are serious times. But the $61 billion matters to me.
PERINO: That's why I actually think the timing of Congressman Ryan's budget coming out was brilliant. It was I think that they were even going to kick it to next week. And I think they were smart to bring it forward. Because it put into perspective what we are really talking about.
Could it be that the brilliant budget wonks Hannity and Perino are wrong or spinning like rats in a cage? Yep, it is very possible they were just mak'n stuff up.
But Policy, Not Money, Is Reportedly More At Fault For The Budget Delay
Washington Post: "Disagreements About Money Are No Longer Really The Issue." An April 7 Washington Post article reported:
[A]ides privately said that disagreements about money are no longer really the issue. Negotiators have identified an array of spending cuts, enough to meet Boehner's and Reid's demands -- if they can agree on which of those cuts to make.
Publicly, Boehner and Reid continue to argue over Republican demands that any deal include restrictions on abortion funding and environmental regulations. Democrats oppose such restrictions. Privately, both sides acknowledge that these may turn out to be bargaining chips that the GOP will ultimately remove from a final agreement in exchange for deeper cuts or other concessions. [The Washington Post, 4/7/11]
NYT: "It's Not Really About Spending ... Republicans Are Refusing To Budge On These Ideological Demands." An April 7 New York Times editorial, headlined, "It's Not Really About Spending," highlighted some of the issues that continue to hold up an agreement on the budget, stating that "if the federal government shuts down at midnight on Friday ... it will not be because of disagreements over spending. It will be because Republicans are refusing to budge on these ideological demands." From the Times:
• No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.
• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.
• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.
• No regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.
• No funds for health care reform or the new consumer protection bureau established in the wake of the financial collapse.
Abortion. Environmental protection. Health care. Nothing to do with jobs or the economy; instead, all the hoary greatest hits of the Republican Party, only this time it has the power to wreak national havoc: furloughing 800,000 federal workers, suspending paychecks for soldiers and punishing millions of Americans who will have to wait for tax refunds, Social Security applications, small-business loans, and even most city services in Washington. The damage to a brittle economy will be substantial.
Democrats have already gone much too far in giving in to the House demands for spending cuts. The $33 billion that they have agreed to cut will pull an enormous amount of money from the economy at exactly the wrong time, and will damage dozens of vital programs.
But it turns out that all those excessive cuts they volunteered were worth far less to the Republicans than the policy riders that are the real holdup to a deal. After President Obama appeared on television late Wednesday night to urge the two sides to keep talking, negotiators say, the issue of the spending cuts barely even came up. All the talk was about the abortion demands and the other issues. [The New York Times, 4/7/11]
NYT: "No Accord In Budget Talks As Policy Fights Hamper Deal." An April 7 New York Times article cited policy disputes as the reason for the ongoing budget conflict. From the Times:
The policy disputes involved a handful of provisions. One would greatly limit financing for Planned Parenthood and other family-planning providers, in the United States and overseas, and prevent the District of Columbia from using its tax dollars to help poor women pay for abortions.
Also at issue were measures that would restrict the regulatory powers of the Environmental Protection Agency, a favorite target of Republicans since they took over the House, by preventing the agency from enforcing significant portions of the Clean Air Act and regulating carbon emissions. [The New York Times, 4/7/11]
LA Times: "Republican Policy Demands Threaten Budget Talks." An April 8 Los Angeles Times article reported:
Boehner is fighting to retain provisions that were included in House-passed bill in February. Those provisions would restrict abortion services and limit the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollutants.
To many rank-and-file Republicans, those hot-button issues are just as important as spending cuts. But they are also nonstarters for many Senate Democrats, including Reid.
Five separate provisions related to family planning and abortion were being pursued by the Republicans, including one that would prevent federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a long-sought goal for many socially conservative lawmakers.
Other family-planning-related provisions pursued by the GOP would halt foreign aid funding to health organizations that promote or provide abortion services, a measure known as the Mexico City rule, as well as to the U.N. Population Fund, which provides reproductive, AIDS prevention and women's health services.
Another provision would ban the District of Columbia from sending local tax revenues to groups that provide access to abortions. [Los Angeles Times, 4/8/11]
McClatchy: Republicans, Democrats Close On Spending Cuts, Not On Social Policy. An April 7 McClatchy article reported that "throughout Thursday, the two sides were close on spending cuts, but not on social policy restrictions favored by Republicans." [McClatchyDC.com, 4/7/11]
Not to mention that the provisions of the Ryan plan would have amounted to an end to Medicare and the creation of health insurance company "death panels".
Bill O'Reilly continues to be one of the most arrogant out of touch elitist in the USA, Oh, No He Didn't! Bill O'Reilly Says "Nobody's Life Is Affected By Planned Parenthood"
Bill O'Reilly is a very wealthy, anti-choice Catholic conservative whose wife, if she's using birth control (and we know she wouldn't because she would going straight to hell!), gets her prescriptions from her gynecologist who is covered by Bill's gold plated Fox News health coverage. For sure, she doesn't have to run a gauntlet of those anti-choice crazies who try to shame and harass women entering a Planned Parenthood clinic. Bill and his wife will never know the anguish of low income/unemployed women and families, with no health insurance, for whom an unplanned pregnancy might mean returning to the poverty from which they are trying to escape. If Bill needs STD testing (and we know, as a strictly monogamous Catholic, he wouldn't!) he would merely go to his own doctor. But for many low income Americans, Planned Parenthood provides necessary, reproductive health care which includes abortion - which is still legal, despite the best efforts of O'Reilly's anti-choice soulmates, to criminalize it. If anything, the contraception, provided by Planned Parenthood, prevents more abortions and keeps women and families off of social safety net programs - which O'Reilly's GOP soulmates want to abolish.