Why it smells like a deal 

Moments ago, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh.., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., made public statements about the state of negotiations, with a shutdown looming at midnight Friday. While both indicated that there was no deal, my reading is that they're close to a deal, and are merely laying the groundwork to explain any compromise to their respective political bases.

The gist of their remarks was this: Boehner, in a less than one minute statement to reporters, said that most of the policy issues had been resolved, and now it comes down to whether Democrats were going to accept more spending cuts, while Reid insisted on the Senate floor that they had already agreed on spending cut numbers, but that the only issue that remained was Planned Parenthood funding.

What this suggests to me is that the ultimate deal, as most veteran observers expected all along, will be that Democrats will agree to more spending cuts and that Republicans will agree to drop the Planned Parenthood provision. By making the statements they have today, when a deal is reached, Reid and President Obama could tell the frustrated liberal base that they fought to protect "women's health" (their euphamism for Planned Parenthood). Meanwhile. Boehner will tout the spending cuts they were able to extract from Reid in the face of conservative criticism for caving on funding for the nation's largest abortion provider.

There will probably be defections from the right and left when the final deal comes up for a vote, just like on last year's tax deal, but ultimately, they'll be able to cobble together enough votes to avert a shutdown.

The situation is obviously fluid and I could turn out to be way off, but this is the sense I'm getting.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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