Friday night, Congress and President Obama reached an 11th-hour spending deal (literally, it was near 11 p.m.) to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2011. They passed a stopgap measure before the midnight deadline to avoid a shutdown, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress are hard at work today ironing out the details of the long-term plan. Government workers and contractors—many in the D.C. area—breathed a sigh of relief that they wouldn’t see a dent in their paychecks, and both sides of the aisle in Congress declared victory. But did both sides win in the deal that cut around $38.5 billion in spending?
House Speaker John Boehner won more cuts than his original $32 billion goal, but Republicans sacrificed a policy rider that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. Democrats reportedly conceded to riders that will revoke Washington, D.C.’s ability to fund abortions and a needle-exchange program, which provides clean needles to drug users to prevent the spread of AIDS in the nation's capital. The deal also provides for five more years of funding for a school voucher program in the District, a Boehner-supported plan that gives low-income students money toward private school tuition. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons about the budget and the deficit.]
In the political blame game, Republicans and President Obama may have shouldered much of the political repercussions a shutdown would have brought. Some say Obama won political points for stepping in—albeit late in the game—to help facilitate and push a deal to prevent a shutdown that could have damaged his changes in 2012.
But CBS’s Bob Shieffer thinks there were no winners and losers. “They just wasted a lot of time with partisan posturing until they were forced to do what they should’ve done last year,” he said on Face the Nation Sunday. “That is nothing to brag about, and certainly nothing to applaud.”
What do you think? Who won the 2011 budget compromise? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.
Previously: Who would you blame for a government shutdown?