April 11, 2011 — Lawmakers late Friday night announced that they had reached a tentative agreement on a budget measure for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, averting a shutdown of the federal government, the Washington Post reports (Somashekhar/Kane, Washington Post, 4/9). Lawmakers agreed to drop two policy riders -- provisions to defund Planned Parenthood and the federal health reform law -- that had been holding up agreement on the budget, Politico reports. Instead, the two issues will be considered separately on the Senate floor at a later time, according to a summary of the compromise released by Boehner's office. According to Politico, both measures are expected to fail in the Democrat-controlled Senate (Nather, Politico, 4/9).
Although the compromise does not block funds for Planned Parenthood, it prohibits the District of Columbia from using local funds to pay for abortion care, Politico reports (Budoff Brown, Politico, 4/9).
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the group "applauds the members of Congress who stood up for women's health," but she added that "we are deeply disappointed" over the provision "restricting [D.C.'s] right to make its own decisions regarding how to spend local money just as the 50 states are allowed to do" (Washington Post, 4/9).
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said, "While I am relieved that Congress reached an agreement so that our employees can work and city services can continue, I am also angry and extremely disappointed that the District of Columbia, once again, suffered collateral damage amidst partisan bickering" (Pershing, Washington Post, 4/10). He added, "It's unbelievable. The District of Columbia is again being used as a pawn in partisan politics."
President Obama -- who helped broker the deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner -- said the budget package for FY 2011 would include nearly $38 billion in spending cuts, which he described as the "biggest annual spending cut in history" (Herszenhorn/Cooper, New York Times, 4/9). Congressional aides said that new legislation reflecting the budget agreement would be written over the week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lawmakers will have to pass the new bill before week's end, when a stopgap measure intended to give lawmakers time to put the compromise into legislative text is set to expire (Boles, Wall Street Journal, 4/10).