Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flight to Mars Week Day 3 1/2

I thought I would try to avoid the insanity of the number of articles about the budget negotiations that I faced this morning by giving you an afternoon briefing, so here goes:

No deal has been reached. But in breaking news, the President has summoned Speaker Boehner back to the White House tonight for more discussions. So hopefully, there's still a chance of a resolution.

The White House has stressed that a shut-down could hurt the fragile economy. Economists agree. A shut-down would result in a furlough of 800,000 federal government employees. The parties are still talking, struggling to try to reach a deal. But the Tea Partiers in the House don't want a deal; they want the whole $61 billion in cuts plus defunding of health reform, Planned Parenthood, and the EPA. Still, Speaker Boehner says he's trying to avert a shut-down if possible. But the procedural rules in the House and Senate suggest that there could be at least a short shut-down even if a deal is reached -- the House has a rule saying bills have to be public for 72 hours before passage, and the Senate would have a cloture vote, which requires 30 hours of discussion. Some pundits believe these procedural rules will be waived if need be if the parties reach agreement.

Federal agencies are preparing for a shut-down, though, determining which employees are essential. Senate offices are doing the same. The military will be paid eventually, but checks won't be cut during a shut-down. But GOP investigations chair Darrell Issa says all of his staff is essential. Isn't that nice for him?

That's where we're at as of this moment. I'll be back with an update in about 12 hours -- hopefully with some good news. Jennifer

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