7 Things To Know About The Government Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

“The moving target is focused on women in America.”

That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to reporters this morning as he addressed the threat of a government shutdown over an inability by Republicans and Democrats to reach a deal on the budget. The main piece of contention? Funding for Title X, which allocates funds for family planning services, including those offered by Planned Parenthood. The issue? Even though Title X funds don’t cover them, Planned Parenthood provides abortions.

In simple, basic terms, let’s recap seven things you need to know about the threat of a governmental shutdown:

  1. Sen. Reid told reporters this morning that the White House and Dems agreed to $38 billion in budget cuts, but that the Republicans would not agree to anything over “ideology.”
  2. The Republicans’ area of contention are riders, which are, as Huffington Post explains, “provisions that restrict the federal government from spending money on certain projects or entities.” Members of Congress can influence social policy by supporting riders which restrict spending money on things they don’t support — in this case, funding for Planned Parenthood. (Restricting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency has also been an issue of contention.)
  3. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), who does not support legal abortion, has made clear that he and fellow Republicans insist on a rider against funding Title X, which covers funding for family planning and reproductive health services.
  4. By law, Title X is not allowed to cover the cost of abortions. However, as I noted in another post, Republicans object to the fact that Planned Parenthood receives Title X funding for the many other health services for women it offers, such as birth control, Pap smears, and breast exams, yet still provides abortions. The Republicans’ tactic is to defund Planned Parenthood simply because it provides abortions, even at the expense of all the other women’s health services it provides. Lovely, right?
  5. As Huffington Post depressingly notes, “The negotiations are dominated by men.” The lead negotiators from both parties are old, mostly white dudes.
  6. Rep. Boehner has disputed that the Planned Parenthood rider is the obstruction, instead telling reporters today that Obama and Reid’s proposed $38 billion in budget cuts is too small and “Washington’s not serious about dealing with its spending addiction.”
  7. The budget deadline must be sorted out by midnight tonight (Friday) — or else 800,000 federal workers may be told not to report to work on Monday.

Again, this is a very basic summation of the threat of government shutdown over Planned Parenthood. If you see additional news articles or blog posts that are instructive about the potential government shutdown, please include them in the comments.

[Huffington Post: Government Shutdown Threatened By Republicans Over Planned Parenthood]
[HP: Government Shutdown: Top Negotiators Close To Reaching Budget Deal]
[Washington Post: Reid: Impasse Based On Funding For Planned Parenthood; Boehner Denies It]
[AP: Red: It’s All About Women’s Health]
[NY Times: As Government Shutdown Nears, Policy Overshadows Numbers]