April 8, 2011— -- Barely more than an hour before a midnight deadline, officials announced a deal to avert a government shutdown.
"We will cut $78.5 billion below the president's 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement on the policy riders," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a joint statement.
The agreement would cut about $38 billion from the 2010 baseline budget, and the deal on the riders kept intact funding to Planned Parenthood, sources said.
"We protected the investments we need to win the future," President Obama said after the deal was struck. "At the same time, we also made sure at the end of the day this was a debate about spending cuts -- not social issues like women's health and the protection of our air and water. These are important issues that deserve discussion, just not during a debate about our budget."
The Senate passed a temporary resolution to keep the government funded beyond midnight, when it was scheduled to run out, until the full agreement can be drawn up and passed by Congress. That short-term bridge included the first $2 billion in cuts, officials said.
The House was expected to pass the same bridge measure, Boehner said.
"I would expect the final vote on this to occur mid-next week," Boehner said. "This has been a long discussion and a long fight, but we fought to keep government spending down because it really will, in fact, help create a better environment for job creators in our country."
The House hadn't voted by midnight, but the Office of Management and Budget said there would be no shutting down of government agencies because agreement had been reached and funding was anticipated.
Senate Republicans pointed out that as recently as February, Democratic leaders denounced even more modest cuts than those in the deal as "draconian," "extreme" and "unworkable." They had to go the brink of a shutdown, the Republicans said but Boehner's hard line, in the end, forced Democrats to agree to several billion more in cuts.
However, Democratic officials tried to portray the deadline deal as one in which Boehner blinked. They argued the level of cuts were similar to what were discussed during a meeting at the White House the night before. The officials said Boehner came back during Friday asking for more cuts, but Obama refused.
Plus, money will not be taken from programs the president favors, such as Head Start, but instead from the automatic "mandatory spending" appropriated for departments such as the Pentagon and the Department of Transportation.
"They gave on the EPA, NPR, and Planned Parenthood riders," a Democratic official said.
However, the deal does include an abortion funding ban for Washington, D.C., which President Obama has signed into law before. And, Democrats added, the agreement calls for the Senate to hold votes on rescinding the health care law and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.